2021

Her Secret Amish Match by Cathy Liggett

An Amish matchmaker in need of a job…

and a widower in need of a wife.

After Hannah Miller loses her dream job, becoming a nanny—and matchmaker—for widower Jake Burkholder is her only option. Finding Jake a wife is her hardest assignment yet. After all, he once broke Hannah’s heart when he married her best friend. But as long-held secrets are revealed, Hannah can’t help but wish she could be Jake’s perfect match…

Such a heartwarming story of love lost and secrets. 

Author Cathy Liggett writes wonderful characters in Hannah and Jake. Both are dealing with the past in their own ways and yet, through all the hurt, they still care about each other. A young Amish matchmaker is an intriguing story line, and when you add some adorable children who want a mother you have many moments that will make you sigh with contentment. And others when you’ll want to shake someone to wake them up to the truth.

Grab a copy of Her Secret Amish Match, your favorite beverage, and relax into this enjoyable story. (Yes, we all know how it will end but the enjoyment is the journey of how we get there.) I highly recommend it!

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

Proposing Mischief by Regina Jennings

Only one person can give her the freedom she seeks–but is it worth the risk?

Maisie Kentworth is being forced to stay on her parents’ ranch. After a short-lived relationship with the wrong man, she’s worried about inflaming things further between her former beau and her protective family. Left to rue her mistakes, she keeps busy exploring the idle mine at the edge of their property, where she discovers a great treasure.

Boone Bragg is also stuck. With his parents on vacation, the management of Bragg Mining falls on him, and one of his advisors wants him as a son-in-law. One wrong move, and Boone will end up either offending an associate or marrying a woman he can’t endure.

While closing up a spent mine, Boone gets two surprises. One is a spitfire farm girl who’s trespassing with a pickax, and the other is the amazing crystal cavern that she’s discovered. Suddenly Boone sees a way to overhaul the family business. With part of the cavern on Kentworth land, Boone makes Maisie a proposal that he hopes will solve all of their problems. Instead it throws Joplin into chaos, and it will take all of Maisie’s gumption to set things right.

Book 2 in Regina Jenning’s Joplin Chronicles series, Proposing Mischief can be read as a stand alone, but I highly recommend Book 1, Courting Misfortune. Not only is it a good book but some of the characters show up in Book 2.

I spent a lot of time reading this and laughing. Jennings writes such engaging characters. Maisie is a farmgirl and Boone is from a well to do family. Neither understands the other’s lifestyle but that doesn’t stop sparks from flying, and tempers too. Maisie is always getting into trouble, and Boone just wants women to leave him alone. Such a great combination!

Along the way we learn about crystal caves, mining, and water pumps but it’s incorporated into the story in a great way. I really enjoyed learning about this life. 

A marriage of convenience story that will make you smile, I highly recommend you come along for the ride of your life!

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

Purchase here

3-Minute Devotions to Laugh and Reflect by Christopher Hudson and Stan Campbell

A Fun-Filled Way to Draw Near to God

As believers, we have God as our Father, and fathers love the sound of their children’s laughter. So why not try something a little different for your daily devotions?

If you want to lighten your mood while drawing near to God, or if you know someone who could use a laugh and a spiritual pick-me-up, this is just what you’ve been looking for. It’s quick, easy, enjoyable–and thought-provoking too! Every day features the humorous cartoon artwork of

Dennis Fletcher plus a short, powerful message that will uplift hearts and position minds to look for God in the day ahead.

3-Minute Devotions to Laugh and Reflect is built on the ministry of Jesus, whose teachings were often brief, created great word pictures, and were sometimes punctuated with humor. This is a fun, low-key approach to daily devotions that promises to stay with you and encourage your faith.

With 90 one-page topics to think about, each includes scripture verse and a cartoon. Written very conversationally, the thoughts are simple to read and understand while applying the scripture that goes along with it.

The topics are not funny, and are not meant to be, but they are insightful and thought provoking. The comics will give you a chuckle as they reflect today’s world in an ironic way. These are short enough for anyone to work into their day, and will give you much to dwell on. I recommend it.

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

The Debutante’s Code by Erica Vetsch

Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes in this new Regency mystery series

Newly returned from finishing school, Lady Juliette Thorndike is ready to debut in London society. Due to her years away, she hasn’t spent much time with her parents, and sees them only as the flighty, dilettante couple the other nobles love. But when they disappear, she discovers she never really knew them at all. They’ve been living double lives as government spies–and they’re only the latest in a long history of espionage that is the family’s legacy.

Now Lady Juliette is determined to continue their work. Mentored by her uncle, she plunges into the dangerous world of spy craft. From the glittering ballrooms of London to the fox hunts, regattas, and soirees of country high society, she must chase down hidden clues, solve the mysterious code her parents left behind, and stay out of danger. All the while, she has to keep her endeavors a secret from her best friend and her suitors–not to mention nosy, irritatingly handsome Bow Street runner Daniel Swann, who suspects her of a daring theft.

Can Lady Juliette outwit her enemies and complete her parents’ last mission? Or will it lead her to a terrible end?

Best-selling author Erica Vetsch is back with a rollicking, exciting new series destined to be a hit with Regency readers who enjoy a touch of mystery in their love stories. Fans of Julie Klassen, Sarah Ladd, and Anne Perry will love the wit, action, and romance.

Let’s just cut to the chase. If you enjoy books set in the Regency period, get this one. It’s a must read! Author Erica Vetsch has done a fabulous job of combining wit, humor, suspense, and danger. It’s described as a love story, but there really is very little romance in it so don’t let that stop you.  And honestly, If I had the time I could have read this book in one sitting.

Well written characters that the reader will love, Lady Juliette simply wants to be home with her parents, and be fully accepted. Daniel Swann is intent on catching a thief. Life is about to get interesting with these two. The secondary characters are great fun too. Everyone needs a best friend like Agatha. 

Full of mysteries intersecting with each other, The Debutante’s Code will keep you guessing to the end. I’m looking forward to book two!

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

Purchase here

Christmas Cookies Mystery by Several Authors

Everybody loves Christmas … and mysteries. And now the two of them have been combined. We hope you’ll enjoy this fun little project revisiting the Christmas Cookies CD. — Joe Bonsall, The Oak Ridge Boys

Christmas is magical and includes many traditions like decorating the tree, giving gifts, baking cookies … and murder and mayhem?!?! Join in the fun this season and create a new holiday tradition with mysteries from more than a baker’s dozen of award winning authors—all inspired by the songs of The Oak Ridge Boys’ Christmas Cookies CD.

Hark the Herald Angels Sing—Patricia Bradley

Ollie Bramlett—Joseph S. Bonsall

From Love to Love—Lisa Preston

Away in a Manger —Beth Pugh

Aunt Elvira’s Jewels (aka Hay Baby)—D. L. Havlin

Little Annie’s Christmas Wish—Christine Clemetson

I’ll be Home for Christmas—Don Bruns

Blessed Be the Day of Our Savior’s Birth—Kathy Harris

Jingle Bells Murder All the Way—Kelly Irvin

Ordinary Days—Delores Topliff

Uncle Luther Made the Stuffing—Vanessa M. Knight

Back to Tennessee—Danielle M Haas

The Warmest Night of the Year—Kaye D. Schmitz

O, Come All Ye Faithful— M.M. Chouinard

O Come All Ye Faithful (Reprise)—Mindy Steele

Hang on for a fast ride! These are short intriguing stories that will keep you reading. The authors have written Christmas stories full of drama and suspense, based on the Christmas Cookies Album by The Oak Ridge Boys.

Many different authors, each with a different writing style, make this a unique and fun read. I recommend it for a different type of Christmas book.

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

Protecting Annie by Jodie Wolfe

After twenty years living along the trail as a deputy U.S. Marshal, Joshua Walker takes a job as sheriff in Burrton Springs, Kansas so he can be closer to his sister. Only problem is, she no longer requires his protecting.

After the death of her father, Annie McPherson needs a change. She accepts a position as schoolmarm hoping her past won’t catch up with her. Life is good, except for the pesky lawman who creates confrontations at every turn and continually questions her ability to adjust to life in the west.

When the irritating schoolteacher’s past and present collide, dragging Josh into the turmoil, he has to decide who he’s willing to defend.

Next in the Burrton Springs Brides series, author Jodie Wolfe writes a fun story about a mail order bride and a U.S. Marshal. This book can be read as a stand alone, but I highly recommend reading Taming Julia because it was as entertaining as Protecting Annie. Great characters who are true to life, they have to deal with the past and learn that God can be trusted to heal. 

Wolfe paints the history of the old west in such a way that you can taste the dust and learn how people lived. I highly recommend Protecting Annie!

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

A Promise of Forgiveness by JoAnn Brown

Every little secret is a chain to the past…

For Amish widow Naomi Ropp, moving back to her parents’ Bliss Valley home—with her boisterous twin toddler boys—is a chance to start over and bury the painful secrets of her marriage forever. But her life is turned upside down once again when she learns she’s not the only one hiding things. The parents she believed were always open and honest have been keeping a secret her whole life. And now her only confidant is her father’s new employee—a handsome Amish man who was once her childhood tormentor.

Samuel King knows more than anyone should about mistakes—and the way he treated Naomi is at the top of his list. But the shock of seeing her pretty face again is quickly overshadowed when they find a slumbering boppli abandoned on his porch. Caring for the sweet newborn together is finally bringing some peace to their troubled pasts. But when a spark leads to growing feelings as they start to look toward the future, Samuel must find a way to convince Naomi to trust the man he’s become…and the promise of new love.

Author JoAnn Brown returns to Bliss Valley in this second book of her Secrets of Bliss Valley series. Don’t be concerned if you haven’t read book one, A Wish for Home. I haven’t and could follow this book just fine. But I will go back and read book one simply because I thoroughly enjoyed A Promise of Forgiveness.

A Promise of Forgiveness is just that; forgiveness. There is so much for Samuel and Naomi to be forgiven for, and to forgive. Even though it’s the Amish way, will they be able to? Grudges have power over us. Brown wrote this “theme” in such a way that the reader sees the need to forgive even in their own life. Very powerful.

Throw in a pair of rascally twins, a beautiful baby, and a stubborn father and you have the recipe for a lot of laughter. I highly recommend this book!

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

The Cowboy’s Amish Haven by Pamela Desmond Wright

Her home and her heart are on the line…

On the same day Gail Schroder’s faced with losing her Amish family ranch, her old crush Levi Wyse shows up on her doorstep. He doesn’t know that when he left ten years ago he’d taken Gail’s heart with him. Now Levi’s her only hope of keeping a roof over her head. But can this cowboy teach Gail the ropes in time to save her home?

My first book by author Pamela Desmond Wright, it won’t be my last. Wright did a really good job of placing her readers in the Texas Amish Community of Burr Oak, and showing us how this community is different from others. I find it interesting to learn about the various states that unexpectedly have Amish Communities, some being much more modern than others.

Well developed characters Gail and Levi will have you cheering them on to succeed, both on the ranch and in love. Wright’s descriptions of a cattle ranch help you to really see what is happening; very well done.

Strong faith brings about healing in this story. I highly recommend it.

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

Their Yuletide Healing by Mindy Openhaus

As her plans unravel, can she give her children what they truly need?

Foster mom Rae Girard’s determined to make her children’s first Christmas with her the best they’ve ever had—and she’s shocked when the town scrooge, attorney Cole Heinsohn, offers to pitch in. Rae’s young charges have melted Cole’s heart, and he wants them to experience the special day he never had. But when disaster strikes, an imperfect holiday might bring them something better: a family…

It’s always wonderful to return to Bliss, Texas. Will this be the last visit there? I hope not. I find the characters to be so real to life that I’m sure if I walked down the street I would run into them and we’d stop to chat. When an author makes me feel that way I know the book is good. Author Mindy Openhaus also includes glimpses of those we met in other books in her Bliss, Texas series. It’s fun to catch up with them again.

Openhaus isn’t afraid to tackle tough subjects such as abuse and foster care, but she does it carefully without going deeply into difficult details. I love the focus on Rae giving her foster children what they need and what she wants for them; a wonderful Christmas. Add in Cole, who Rae clashes with, and you have a surprising story of hope, forgiveness, and love.

If you’re looking for a heartwarming Contemporary Christmas story that has all the feelings, then I highly recommend Their Yuletide Healing.

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

A Castle for Christmas by Stephenia McGee

A crown meant for a princess. A medieval castle. And a one-way ticket to an unforgettable romance.

A life-changing diagnosis sends Avery Stuart on a last-chance Christmas road trip. The cheery bed-and-breakfast offers a festive way to spend the holidays alone. But when she finds her name listed on an ancient family tree next to an English baron, her trip suddenly takes a startling turn—no fairy godmother included. She might have gotten the Cinderella dress, but her prince is more beast than charming.

On the verge of seeing his people starve, Sir Robert de Northwood must seek a bride with a hefty dowry in order to salvage what war has wrought. The night he must choose his wife, a strange foreign princess arrives at Northwood Castle dressed in enough jewels to feed his barony for a year—and she’s entirely alone. Sir Robert is intrigued by the fascinating woman and offers his protection by way of a sensible marriage arrangement that will benefit them both. But when the mysterious Princess Avery of Gardenia claims to be from the future, how much will he risk losing in order to keep her close?

♥ The Back Inn Time series short novels are fun, faith-filled stories of what it might be like to suddenly experience life in a different time. These clean historical romances are packed with humor and adventure. Perfect for fans of dual timeline or time slip stories and Christian historical romance, these books answer the question every historical fiction fan wonders—what would it be like if I went back to that time? If you enjoy the wholesomeness of Amish, Western, or frontier fiction and adore romantic comedies, then a visit to a seaside Victorian inn where you can “step back inn time and leave your troubles behind!” is for you.

Author Stephenia McGee has become well known for her historical novels, and now is known for her time travel stories. Lest you get upset, she acknowledges that time travel isn’t possible. These books are simply “what if” fun. I really do recommend the entire series.

Imagine finding yourself thought to be a foreign princess that shows up at a castle. And you don’t know how you got there. How would you react? Or act? McGee shows us a great “what if” with historical details that flesh out the story well.

Is this beauty and the beast? You’ll enjoy the repertoire between Avery and Sir Robert. McGee always weaves faith throughout her stories in a very organic way; nothing is in your face. Add in a clean romance and A Castle for Christmas is a wonderful story for those who enjoy time travel or Christian historical fiction.

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

Tomorrow’s Constant Hope by Naomi Rawlings

The last thing a woman on the run needs is to find herself married to the richest rancher in Texas…

Keely O’Brien has spent the past five months on the run, but no matter what she does, she can’t seem to evade the ring of dangerous criminals that killed her brother in Chicago. When she spots an ad for a wife from the owner of a small ranch on a remote stretch of Texan desert, she knows she’s found the perfect hiding spot. The Wolf Point Ring might be searching far and wide for her, but they wouldn’t think to look in tiny, sun-scorched town of Twin Rivers, Texas. Now if she can just keep her new husband from finding out why she really married him…

Agamemnon “Wes” Westin’s feet might be firmly planted in West Texas soil, but his heart is running… Running from the loss of his first wife and stillborn daughter, and running from the fear of suffering loss again. Unfortunately, he has little choice about needing to marry, but he does have a choice about who he marries. If he has to share his roof with someone, he wants a woman who works hard and doesn’t complain. That’s why he decides to run an ad for a bride, claiming that he owns a small ranch, rather than the sprawling cattle empire he inherited from his father. After all, what woman is going to be upset when she finds out her husband is one of the richest men in Texas?

When Wes discovers Keely is hiding from criminals who want her dead, he can’t help but protect her—even if she’s irate with him for lying about the size of his ranch. When danger arrives in Twin Rivers, both Wes and Keely find themselves facing their deepest fears. Will they let their pain and past losses ruin their dreams? Or will Wes and Keely find a way to forge a new life together?

From jagged mountains and green river valleys, to cattle ranches and vivid sunsets, Tomorrow’s Constant Hope offers a meaningful story about simpler times, sincere faith, and learning to love again after loss.

Author Naomi Rawlings has a great thing going with her Texas Promise series. Book three, Tomorrow’s Constant Hope, can be read as a standalone, but you will understand some of it better if you read the first two books in the series. Plus they’re really good and I recommend all of them.

A good western always has a damsel in distress and a cowboy hero. Wes and Keely are the best in these roles! Both are running from something and need each other in ways they don’t expect. With lots of twists and turns, this book keeps you guessing as to what is coming next.Wholesome and clean with a sweet romance, I highly recommend Tomorrow’s Constant Hope.

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

A Mother’s Strength by Allie Plieter

Will finding her son a friend lead to forever love?

Single mom Molly Kane will do anything to help her son overcome his anxieties—including enlisting former police officer Sawyer Bradshaw to give him golf lessons. Sawyer’s a loner, yet he quickly forms a bond with little Zack. And with Molly. But protecting Zack means Molly must keep her heart off-limits from Sawyer, even as her little boy draws them together…

It was good to return to Wander Canyon. One of these days I’m going to visit there in person. At least  I’d sure love to because author Allie Plieter makes it sound like a wonderful place to visit.

A Mother’s Strength has well developed, true to life characters that you will grow to love. I wanted to hold little Zack close and make the hurts go away. Molly and Sawyer have issues, too, that need to be dealt with. I so appreciate Plieter’s way of writing honest characters that struggle just as we all do.

Heartwarming, heart tugging, and even a bit zany in the lengths that Molly will go to, I highly recommend A Mother’s Strength.

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

Jesus Followers by Anne Graham Lotz

The daughter and granddaughter of Billy Graham share inspiring stories from their family life that offer compelling insights for leaving a legacy of faith.

Passing on our faith does not happen passively—it’s something we intentionally pursue with prayer and joy. Yet many of us struggle to know what it looks like to live out a contagious faith in today’s world. We long for spiritual wisdom on how to ignite faith in our children, grandchildren, and others we encounter. 

Jesus Followers offers practical ideas, biblical teaching, and inspiring true stories from Anne Graham Lotz and her daughter Rachel-Ruth Lotz Wright for effectively running the race of faith and passing the Baton of Truth to the next generation.

Drawing on the fascinating genealogy of Genesis 5, Anne explores the unique impact of our witness, worship, work, and walk. Rachel-Ruth illustrates each of these critical elements with stories from the Graham and Lotz families, offering vivid descriptions of how God’s truth was passed on by word and example.

Jesus Followers not only offers a glimpse into the living rooms and prayer closets of a faith-filled family, but it also equips you with the wisdom, motivation, and practical ideas for consistently and joyfully sharing your faith.

I love the teaching that we have to actively share our faith to pass it on. We do that in many ways, as we see in this book. The way we live our lives is so important to the next generations. It’s stronger than any words we may speak. I love the theme of passing the baton because we truly are running a race.

Full of scriptural truths and heartwarming family stories, I highly recommend it to any Christian who wants to affect the generations to come.

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

Claiming His Christmas Inheritance by C.J. Carroll

Some inheritances have strings attached.

This one requires him to get married…

In her last matchmaking attempt, Zed Evans’s late aunt stipulated he must find a wife—or lose his childhood home. Fortunately, the resolute bachelor needs to be married for only three months. Now he just has to convince Tasha Jenkins to be his holiday wife in exchange for funds to get her dream business started. It’s the perfect plan…until love makes an unexpected appearance.

Author C.J. Carroll is new to me, but this won’t be the last book I read by this debut author.

A marriage of convenience story in this day and age is surprisingly fun. Especially when caused by a meddling aunt who just wants her nephew to be happy. Zed is quite the dashing gentleman and I really enjoyed getting to know him, and what makes him tick. Tasha is alone in the world and wants to feel valued. Both characters were easy to love.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story from the accidental meeting to the end. Toss in a beautiful heritage home and Christmas fluff, and you have a story to relax by the fireplace with. I highly recommend it!

Snowbound with the Amish Bachelor by Patricia Johns

Will she go home when the snow stops falling?

For social worker Grace Schweitzer, arriving at Ben Hochstetler’s farm to pick up an abandoned baby feels like stepping into her past—especially after a blizzard forces her to stay. Helping on the farm reminds Grace of her Amish upbringing…and the reason she left. She’s losing her heart to Ben and the faith she once held dear, but has she changed too much to return to this life?

Stories with Amish characters turned English are always intriguing. What makes that happen? Why do they leave the community? Author Patricia Johns does a really good job of explaining why Grace did. She put such heart into this story that you’ll have trouble putting it down.

Centered around an abandoned baby, we see a social worker who really cares. About both baby and mother. And we see an Amish farmer who is willing to help. Both baby and social worker. 

Heartwarming with laughter, exploration, and love, I recommend adding this book to your winter reading.

The Weather Girls; Windy by Jennifer Lynn Cary

She grew up without a mother……but her little one wouldn’t.

Can the cardinal help her find true love?

Her family thinks Windy is a flighty accident waiting to happen. But with more at stake than herself, she needs to put her creativity to the test and prove them wrong.

Is there such a thing as too much independence?

Kris is a private man of few words, but somehow Windy broke through his defenses. He’d like to be more than a friend, but that would mean revealing his secret.

Will he trust Windy with what he’s kept hidden?

And if he does, will she view him as someone worth building a life with?

Only the cardinal can say for sure.

Return to 1970 Indiana with Windy, the third book in The Weather Girls series for some peace, love, and Christian family values.

You will love Windy, the final book in The Weather Girls trilogy, because everyone knows the sweetest love is the one we wait for.

This has been a fun series, full of 1970s details. I’ve really enjoyed it!

Windy is sister #3 and she is definitely windy in personality. But I came to love her, even with her mistakes in life. Because we all make them, right? That’s where forgiveness comes in. God’s grace always surrounds us. Strong and independent, Windy is still looking for that forever love. Will she find it?

I sighed and laughed my way through this story. I do highly recommend reading the first two books in the trilogy so you understand all the family nuances. They were equally as good.

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

God is Coming; An Advent Journey by Maggie Philpot

In a search for a book that presented the beauty and mystery of the advent season with elegance and simplicity meant to be enjoyed by the entire family, God Is Coming was born. This book traces the story of God’s relentless pursuit of His children and all of the anticipation of the holiday season in simple, rhyme and meter. Children and adults alike will be touched by the reminders of the profound truths of the gospel and families will return to these stories and these iconic images year after year. Each day is accompanied by timeless and beautiful illustrations by Michael Livesay-Wright. Stay tuned for future accompanying products around which the family will gather from generation to generation to prepare hearts and minds for the coming of Jesus.

Breaking down the month of December into the journey to Jesus’ birth, author Maggie Philpot’s advent journey is done in a sing-songy way that will attract especially younger children. Each day is one page, making ita simple yet profound way to tell the story of His birth to even the littles in your life.

Each day is illustrated and will help bring home the truth of the story. As well there is an appendix with each day’s scripture verse and questions to encourage conversation. All in all a well done book for the Christmas season.

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

The Amish Outcast’s Holiday Return by Lacy Williams

Torn between family loyalty and her dreams for the future…

Grace Beiler’s shocked when Zach Miller arrives at her family’s farmhouse seeking forgiveness for his teenage mistake that cost her sister’s fiancé his life. But when her father gives Zach a job, Grace gets to know the man he’s become…and starts to want more than friendship. Can love bloom amid hidden secrets and family grief, and give them a fresh start at Christmas

Not your typical Christmas story, all snowflakes and warm fuzzies, but a story of second chances that will warm your heart.

In this prodigal returns story, characters Grace, Zach, and Sarah are well written in all their hurts and hopes. The strong sense of family shines through, but sometimes to the detriment of what should happen and doesn’t. I enjoyed the support each of the prodigals was given and the love that was evident throughout. The ending was a great, wonderful surprise. If I had one “complaint” it’s that the story came to the predictable conclusion in what appeared to be a rushed fashion. I felt it should have taken a few more months. But I still enjoyed the story and can recommend it.

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

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

When Ivy Rose returns to her hometown to oversee an estate sale, she soon discovers that her grandmother left behind more than trinkets and photo frames–she provided a path to the truth behind Ivy’s adoption. Shocked, Ivy seeks clues to her past, but a key piece to the mystery is missing.

Twenty-four years earlier, Harvey James finds an abandoned newborn who gives him a sense of human connection for the first time in his life. His desire to care for the baby runs up against the stark fact that he is homeless. When he becomes entwined with two people seeking to help him find his way, Harvey knows he must keep the baby a secret or risk losing the only person he’s ever loved.

In this dual-time story from debut novelist Amanda Cox, the truth–both the search for it and the desire to keep it from others–takes center stage as Ivy and Harvey grapple with love, loss, and letting go.

This debut novel by author Amanda Cox left me in awe. Not often does a new writer tell a story with such depth and so many feelings. I honestly couldn’t put it down.

I fell in love with Ivy and Harvey. Both hurting but both wanting to be accepted and loved, even if they wouldn’t admit it. We follow their lives through the story told as a dual timeline but in no way was it confusing. Instead we see the twists and turns that bring a unique family together.

Midway through I figured out what was happening but that only added to the richness of the story as I read the heartfelt struggles happening to not only Ivy and Harvey, but to the secondary characters as well. They were so real! Broken but beautiful, I highly recommend it.

Purchase here

Christmas Grace by Mindy Steele

Second chances and the Christmas spirit abound in Mindy Steele’s heartwarming novel, one of faith, love, and the power of community.

Grace Miller believed herself in love with the charming Englischer who eventually broke her heart. Now alone except for the secret life growing inside her, she arrives in the unfamiliar small village of Walnut Ridge, Kentucky, to hide and hopefully gain forgiveness.She is pleasantly surprised, however, to find a tight-knit, welcoming group who help her heart grow right alongside her belly. And with the holidays around the corner, there’s plenty of preparations to occupy her mind. Also occupying her mind? Her strong, protective neighbor, Cullen Graber, the town’s blacksmith, who seems intent on not allowing her to ever suffer alone.

Cullen Graber gave up on love after too many losses early in life. He planned to live out his days focusing on his smithy business, yet the beautiful and mysterious Grace refuses to leave his thoughts. But can they open their hearts to God’s grace and create a new family together before Grace must return home?

This beautiful story of second chances by author Mindy Steele is just right for the Christmas season. Please don’t start reading it thinking it’s full of Christmas fun and fluff because although that’s there, it isn’t the foundation of the story.

We meet Grace, who has been sent away by an incredibly harsh father intent on punishing her. We meet Cullen, who has suffered much loss and has a broken heart. And we meet other characters who live in Walnut Ridge, most with challenges in life, who I came to love. All of them will draw you in and keep you reading. As well as have you wishing you could visit Walnut Ridge as Ms Steele brings them to life.

Steele’s story moves along at a good, calm pace but has many “edge of the seat” moments that took my breath away, they were written so vividly. The ending..well the ending was incredible. Christmas Grace has all the feelings; laughter, joy, hurt, tears, and love.

I’ll admit I did find the proofreading needed a bit of help. There were several grammatical errors, and there was an overuse of  “smiles floated between them” but don’t let that stop you from reading Christmas Grace. I pushed them aside and enjoyed the wondrous story. If you enjoy Christmas stories, and especially Amish Christmas stories, then please read this one. You’ll be glad you did.

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

A Season on the Wind by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Ben Zook had only two loves in his life: books and birds. In a stroke of good fortune, he’d stumbled onto a way to cobble together those two loves into a career, writing books about rare birds. He was as free as a bird–until a chase for a rare White-winged Tern takes him to the one place on earth he planned to never return: his Amish home in Stoney Ridge.

Desperate for photographs of the elusive tern, Ben hires a local field guide, Micah Weaver, and boards at Micah’s farm, planning to “bag the bird” and leave Stoney Ridge before anyone recognizes him. But he neglected to plan for Micah’s sister, Penny.

One long-ago summer, Penny had introduced Ben to birding, even sharing with him a hidden eagle aerie. That was when she knew true love. She’d always hoped he would come back to Stoney Ridge. Back to his Amish roots. Back to her. The only problem? Ben has absolutely no memory of Penny.

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher welcomes her readers to the Amish community at Stoney Ridge in this engaging story of discovering just who the rare birds are in life.

I enjoy birds and bird watching so this book by Suzanne Woods Fisher was delightful with all the descriptions and information about various birds. Each chapter contains a page from Micah’s bird-watching log and it was a fun way of learning something new. 

This book isn’t your typical Amish story as it combines Amish and English characters living in community together. I find it very interesting to see how each thinks of the other and the differences between them. Yet they supported and cared for each other through some challenging circumstances. Strong, well developed characters made this an enjoyable read. I’d love to visit Stoney Ridge and stay in Penny’s cabin. But as you read, there’s a twist I never expected and it really surprised me. 

Although the story is a bit slow moving, that was okay in this instance as it gave time for the plot to build. If you enjoy Amish novels with clean romance then I can recommend A Season on the Wind. 

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

A Lancaster Family Christmas by Kate Lloyd

What starts as a getaway to Amish Country could turn into the Christmas that changes Diana’s life forever, if only she opens her heart.

Diana can’t face another lonely Christmas in her Manhattan apartment. When a coworker invites her on a last-minute trip to visit her Mennonite family in Lancaster County, Diana jumps at the chance.

Arriving in Amish Country in the middle of a snowstorm, Diana discovers a world that couldn’t be more different from her life on the Upper East Side. She is fascinated by the sprawling farms and buggies on the roads, but what she really notices are the welcoming families, cozy kitchens filled with home-cooked meals…and the two handsome men who may or may not be vying for her attention.

But every community has its secrets. Jesse, the rakish young Amish farmer, is hiding more than just a forbidden cell phone. And then there’s handsome Brett, the guarded Mennonite craftsman who harbors a dark secret of his own.

I love Christmas stories and this one was really good. Author Kate Lloyd paints the vivid differences between English life in Manhattan and Mennonite/Amish life in the country. And not only the geographical differences, but the differences in people and lifestyles. And yet we see how they can be combined in a caring community.

I enjoyed watching Diana adapt to life outside of New York. The reverse didn’t go so well but it sure added to the story. A story of second chances and following your heart, I recommend it if you enjoy a good Christmas story.

Magdelena’s Choice by Molly Jebber

Fresh-baked muffins fragrant with ripe blueberries . . . cinnamon-scented turnovers that transform any meal into a feast. . . . In 1914 Ohio, the Amish Charm Bakery holds a special place within its close-knit, faith-filled community, where love finds a way through God’s grace.

As the daughter of a wealthy rancher, Magdelena Beachy may not truly need her job at the Amish Charm Bakery, but she enjoys tending to customers, be they neighbors or curious Englischers. Only one thing would make life sweeter, and that’s if Toby Schlabach would court her. It’s not just his dimples and smile that warm Magdelena’s heart—she admires his kindness and values. Yet she worries their chance may slip away . . .

With his daed ill and his mother and sister depending on him, Toby can’t yet offer Magdelena the future she deserves. But even as he nears his goal, he learns her father has arranged a match with another suitor. Magdelena risks shunning if she goes against her family. Choosing a path will take courage as well as faith—in God’s plan, and in this steadfast, tender love . . .

Book five in the Amish Charm Bakery series can be read as a standalone but it will be richer if you have read the others. Charm is a wonderful, warm village with wonderful, warm people. At least most of them are. I’d love to visit the bakery! Author Molly Jebber describes it so well that it must be real.

Characters Magdelena and Toby are not only interesting, but they seem real in a 1914 way. Magdalena is looking not only for something constructive to do with her time, but of course she’s also looking for that special someone. Toby may be that person but he can’t offer her what she’s used to in material wealth so her daed match makes without considering Magdelena’s desires. I found myself getting really upset with him. Why would a loving father do that? Why does he think he knows better? Oh my ire was up. I had to keep reading to find out what happened!

If you enjoy Amish fiction then you must read Magdelena’s Choice and see if it’s truly her choice.

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

Lost in Darkness by Michelle Griep

Even if there be monsters, there is none so fierce as that which resides in man’s own heart.

Enchanting Regency-Era Gothic Romance Intertwined with Inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein  

Travel writer Amelia Balfour’s dream of touring Egypt is halted when she receives news of a revolutionary new surgery for her grotesquely disfigured brother. This could change everything, and it does. . .in the worst possible way.

Surgeon Graham Lambert has suspicions about the doctor he’s gone into practice with, but he can’t stop him from operating on Amelia’s brother. Will he be too late to prevent the man’s death? Or to reveal his true feelings for Amelia before she sails to Cairo?

Oh my. This book by author Michelle Griep, while set in England, is still different from any of her other stories. As usual, she has done her research well and you will learn a lot about that period of England. A great story line, we also see her version of how Frankenstein’s Monster came to be. That was intriguing and even scary.

Well developed characters whom you will love and ache for. Except for one. Him I wanted to thrash. But he was still well written and every story needs a villain. My emotions ran wild while reading this. Edge of the seat. Heartwarming. Heartrending. Sad. Happy. Romantic. It’s all in this book.

This story is dark and has broken characters. Much like real life, isn’t it? But God always has a purpose. I highly recommend Lost in Darkness!

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

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The Wish Book Christmas by Lynn Austin

Best friends Audrey Barrett and Eve Dawson are looking forward to celebrating Christmas in postwar America, thrilled at the prospect of starting new traditions with their five-year-old sons. But when the 1951 Sears Christmas Wish Book arrives and the boys start obsessing over every toy in it, Audrey and Eve realize they must first teach them the true significance of the holiday. They begin by helping Bobby and Harry plan gifts of encouragement and service for those in their community, starting by walking an elderly neighbor’s yellow Lab―since a dog topped the boys’ wish list for Santa. In the charming tale that follows, Audrey and Eve are surprised to find their own hearts healing from the tragedies of war and opening to the possibility of forgiveness and new love.

The Wish Book Christmas continues the story of Audrey and Eve that was started in If I Were You. You can read this book as a standalone but I would recommend reading If I Were You first as it will explain some of the things mentioned in The Wish Book Christmas. And it’s really good.

Most of us remember the thrill when the Christmas wish books arrived in the mail. Oh the dreams that danced through our heads. The five year old boys in the story are no different. I love how Austin wrote them as adorable, normal boys who get greedy. Again, normal. The way the mom’s handled this was nothing short of genius and I think you’ll enjoy the idea they came up with.

Very nostalgic, I thoroughly enjoyed this continuing story of forgiveness and the love of God that sent Jesus for us. I highly recommend it! 

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Dead Set by Vannetta Chapman

It was supposed to be a simple remodel.

She didn’t plan on finding buried treasure…or looking down the barrel of a gun.

Agatha Lapp is elated when Channel 4 News decides to run a feature story on Amish businesses. The extra publicity should guarantee even more success for her Plain and Simple B&B, especially after she’s finished with the remodel. The cameras are rolling live when Agatha raises the rubber mallet and punches the first hole in her living room wall. That’s when things get complicated…

Hidden inside the wall is a diamond-studded belt buckle stolen twenty years earlier. The police return the buckle to the owners and refuse to re-open the case. The public is convinced more stolen goods are hidden at Agatha’s. When overzealous treasure hunters break into the B&B and a dead body is found half a mile down the road, Agatha knows she needs to take this investigation into her own hands.

With the help of a retired detective and her best friend, Agatha sets out to solve the mystery of the Lost Texas Treasures and find a killer. Their chase leads them through the Texas Hill Country to the famed YO Ranch where Agatha finds herself looking down the barrel of a gun. Suddenly, she’s no longer worried about a remodel. She just wants to live through this showdown.

Do you enjoy reading cozy mysteries? At one time I wasn’t so sure that I did, but the Agatha’s Amish B&B series by author Vannetta Chapman convinced me that I do. Book three in the series, Dead Set could be read as a standalone, but you’ll get more out of it if you read books one and two. And they’re so enjoyable that you’ll want to.

Poor Agatha can’t do anything it seems without a dead body showing up. You’ll chuckle at the messes she finds herself in, through no fault of her own. Sometimes I chuckled. Sometimes I laughed out loud. And then there were the times where I held my breath because who wants to have a gun pointed at them?

I do get a bit confused with Agatha’s romantic relationship. She’s Amish. Her neighbor is English. Yet the bishop is okay with their relationship. No normal for the Amish community but it does make things interesting and sweet.

If you want a fun story that will keep you guessing then I recommend Dead Set. In fact I recommend the entire series.

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

The Heart of a Cowboy by Jody Hedlund

When he agreed to guard her, he never bargained on having to guard his heart.

Brilliant scientist Linnea Newberry is on the adventure of a lifetime, traveling the Santa Fe Trail with her grandfather, Dr. Howell, on a botanical expedition to Colorado Territory. She longs to be valued for her contributions and not seen as a helpless liability. But at every calamity she faces, her grandfather threatens to send her home.

After watching his ma suffer and die in childbirth, Flynn McQuaid has sworn off women and marriage forever. Headed west to start a new life, he has his hands full not only taking care of his younger siblings but also delivering cattle to his older brother. He doesn’t need more complications.

When Flynn rescues Linnea from drowning during a river crossing, Dr. Howell promptly

hires Flynn–unbeknownst to Linnea–to act as her bodyguard for the rest of the trip. As

Flynn fights against the many dangers of the trail, he soon finds himself in the greatest danger of all–falling for a woman he’s determined not to love.

Jody Hedlund’s second book in the Colorado Cowboys series can be read as a standalone but I highly recommend book one, A Cowboy for Keeps, simply because it’s really good.

The Heart of a Cowboy tells the tale of another McQuaid brother, Flynn. Rugged and daring as you would expect a cowboy to be, Flynn also has a heart of gold. And you know that gets him into trouble with Linnea, who isn’t like any other woman he’s met. Both are very strong, well written characters that I really enjoyed. The fixes they got into had me shaking my head. Likewise, the secondary characters are really good and I’m excited to see book three about another McQuaid.

Hedlund did a good job researching the era so that the details not only make sense but add to the rhythm of the story. I learned new things in a very enjoyable way. And their spiritual walk, while not heavily written, is easy to see.

If you enjoy Christian historical fiction I recommend The Heart of a Cowboy.

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

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The Prodigal’s Holiday Hope by Jill Kemerer

He’s learned from his mistakes…

But can he prove he’s changed?

When Sawyer Roth is hired to work on his childhood ranch, he knows he has a damaged reputation to repair. Tess Malone, the new ranch owner’s daughter, is the hardest to win over. But as Christmas approaches, Tess and her toddler son find a way into Sawyer’s heart. He lost everything the last time he put his trust in love. Can he risk it all again?

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

Author Jill Kemerer’s Christmas book is not only heartwarming but is uplifting. Sawyer and Tess are well written characters who are both dealing with pasts that have caused hurts just as many of us are, but Kemerer reminds us that through God there is forgiveness and a second chance.

The author’s past cowboy stories have been enjoyable reading, and this one is no exception to that. The Prodigal’s Holiday Hope has a great story line, with attention to the details of ranching. I enjoyed learning some new things about this line of work. Kemerer deals with the subjects of cancer and infidelity but throws in a cute toddler who loves all things tractors; it adds a lightness to a story that could be really serious from beginning to end. This book ends up having all the feels, including a clean romance of course. I highly recommend it!

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

Tacos for Two by Betsy St. Amant

Rory Perez, a food truck owner who can’t cook, is struggling to keep the business she inherited from her aunt out of the red–and an upcoming contest during Modest’s annual food truck festival seems the best way to do it. The prize money could finally give her a solid financial footing and keep her cousin with special needs paid up at her beloved assisted living home. Then maybe Rory will have enough time to meet the man she’s been talking to via an anonymous online dating site.

Jude Strong is tired of being a puppet at his manipulative father’s law firm, and the food truck festival seems like the perfect opportunity to dive into his passion for cooking and finally call his life his own. But if he loses the contest, he’s back at the law firm for good. Failure is not an option.

Complications arise when Rory’s chef gets mono and she realizes she has to cook after all. Then Jude discovers that his stiffest competition is the same woman he’s been falling for online the past month.

Will these unlikely chefs sacrifice it all for the sake of love? Or will there only ever be tacos for one?

Author Betsy St. Amant continues with her food related novels and I’m glad she is. I for one am a fan of her writing. Her stories make me smile while I’m feeling all kinds of emotions for the characters.

Suggestive of the movie You’ve Got Mail, Tacos for Two includes an anonymous online dating site where it’s easy to hide. But St. Amant didn’t copy the movie and her book went in ways I didn’t expect. Jude and Rory have great banter that kept me laughing, as did the situations they found themselves in.

Seriously, if you enjoy a good rom-com then you must read Tacos for Two.

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

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A Deep Divide by Kimberley Woodhouse

With her past behind her, she has nothing–and everything–to lose.

After being kidnapped as a child, heiress Emma Grace McMurray has seen firsthand the devastation that greed causes in the world, and she wants nothing to do with it. When she discovers her father has offered her up as a bargaining chip to expand his empire, she disappears into the night. Determined to stay hidden, even if it means always looking over her shoulder, she finds herself working as a Harvey Girl at the El Tovar Hotel.

When Ray Watkins arrives at the hotel on business, he is immediately captivated by the beauty of the Grand Canyon. Though his fame-seeking father aims to lure new investors to the Arizona Territory, Ray dreams of one day taking over the family business and doing good with the profits.

Ray immediately admires Emma Grace, and though an attraction begins to form, she can’t let go of the deep-rooted fear that he’s just like every other wealthy man she’s known. When suspicious activity follows Emma Grace and Ray to the El Tovar, they are pulled into a mystery that stirs up their worst fears. And as shocking revelations come to light, they are left to question all they thought to be true.

Author Kimbrley Woodhouse has become well known for her adventurous stories and A Deep Divide is definitely an adventure. I love that it includes Harvey Girl’s and The Grand Canyon as well as a runaway heiress.

Woodhouse does a good job of researching the facts written in this book and I learned a lot of new things; style of dress for that era, how a Harvey Girl must carry herself, the Native Americans who sold handmade goods to visitors, to name a few. Yet it was all written in such a way that it wasn’t a history lesson but an intriguing story that taught me things along the way.

The characters were strong and well developed. I felt so bad for Emma Grace and the fears she carries. I honestly didn’t trust Ray at first. Could he be the bad guy? The secondary characters kept me guessing which kept me reading. These are all signs of a great story because the “people” pulled me in and wouldn’t let me go.   And of course there is a clean romance. Eventually. 

If you enjoy Christian historical fiction then you must read A Deep Divide. I’m eagerly awaiting Book 2 in the Secrets of the Canyon series!

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

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No Ordinary Christmas by Belle Calhoune

Mistletoe, Maine, is buzzing and not just because Christmas is around the corner! Dante West, local cutie-turned-Hollywood hunk, is returning home to make his next movie. Everyone in town is excited . . . except librarian Lucy Marshall. When Dante took off for LA without warning—or even a goodbye—he broke Lucy’s heart. She swore not to spend one more minute thinking about her ex, but Dante makes an offer Lucy’s struggling library can’t refuse: a major donation to film on-site.

Dante is thrilled to help boost his hometown’s economy and finally begin making amends to the people he hurt years ago when he left, starting with Lucy. But seeing his former best friend on set every day feels a lot less like closure and more like a fresh start. It’s one thing for Dante to fall for Lucy all over again, quite another for a famous movie star and a small-town librarian to find lasting romance. Can the magic of the holiday season give Lucy and Dante’s first love a second chance?

I took a trip to Mistletoe, Maine for Christmas and I’m so glad I did! Author Belle Calhoune writes a Christmas story that is different from most. Can local boy made good and the librarian settle their differences? Because they have big differences. Hollywood vs Mistletoe and hurts from the past.

Calhoun’s setting in Maine makes me want to jump in the car and go. I would love to visit, and her descriptions of Christmas in Mistletoe makes it sound so real. It’s absolutely charming. Throw in a second-chance romance and lovers of contemporary fiction will enjoy this holiday tale.

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

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A Heart’s Forever Home by Lena Dooley

A single lawyer whose clients think he needs a wife. A woman who needs a forever home…or a forever family…or a forever love.

Although Traesa Killdare is a grown woman now, the discovery that her adoption wasn’t finalized sends her reeling. Especially when her beloved grandmother dies and the only siblings she’s ever known exile her from the family property without a penny to her name.

Wilson Pollard works hard for the best interest of his law clients, even those who think a marriage would make him more “suitable” in his career. And when the beloved granddaughter of a recently deceased client comes to him for help, he knows he must do whatever necessary to make her situation better.

As each of their circumstances worsen, a marriage of convenience seems the only answer for both. Traesa can’t help but fall for her new husband—the man who’s given her both his home and his name. But what will it take for Wilson to realize he loves her? Will a not-so-natural disaster open his eyes and heart?

Author Lena Dooley has become a beloved writer to many readers. Her books are not only well researched but they are heartwarming with characters who come to life. A Heart’s Forever Home is no different. With characters like Traesa and Wilson who are extremely likable, you’ll feel as if you’ve met them somewhere and they will draw you into the story.

Marriage of convenience stories are fun to read, and this one has several different twists to it, making it even more enjoyable. Throw in some good drama with adventure and you have a book that’s hard to put down. And I love that Dooley always writes in a faith element, making her books not only sweet but uplifting.

If you enjoy historical fiction with a sweet, clean romance, then I recommend A Heart’s Forever Home.

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

The Weather Girls: Sunny by Jennifer Lynn Cary

She got stood up on Valentine’s Day…

…Then she lost her job

Could the legend of the cardinal change her luck?

With a disposition as bright as her name, Sunny shakes off the worst day of her life and makes a new start. She’s got the brains that it takes, but she’s more than a little scared. It’s not just her reputation on the line.

Would this cockeyed adventure be the thing her siblings needed too?

Pat only wants peace in the family and never dreamed doing a favor for his sister could drop him into so much hot water. Torn between what he’s always wanted and what is staring him in the face, someone is bound to get hurt.

Odds are it will be him.

But then, only the cardinal knows for sure.

Return to 1970 Indiana with Sunny, the first book in The Weather Girls series for the miniskirts, bell-bottoms, and Christian family values.

You’ll love Sunny for the music, the fashions, and the hilarious antics, because who can resist a romantic trip down memory lane?

You know it’s going to be a cute, fun story when the main character gets named Sunny Day. I was smiling from the first chapter. Set in the 70s I knew it was sure to be nostalgic and it was.

Great characters abound as we meet Sunny and her sisters, hero Pat, Sunny’s grandma and a few others. Quirky, yes, but so engaging that you’ll be ready for the next two books in the series.

A fun Christian romance, I enjoy the author’s relaxed and even playful writing style. I’m looking forward to more from her.

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

Penelope’s Pursuit by Chautona Havig

Are mail-order brides changing their minds, or is something sinister going on in Kansas?

Ten years ago, Penelope’s sister ran away as a mail-order bride, and it was the last their family ever heard from her. Now, with their parents dead and Penelope all alone, the young woman has one goal. Find her sister.

It took enough grit for Reuben to write to Mrs. Mildred Crenshaw about finding him a wife in the first place, but when the train arrives and no bride steps off, the whole thing feels like a confidence scheme. Investigation, however, sends chills down his spine as he realizes women are leaving the east for the west but many never arrive at their destinations.

Is it any wonder that Penelope is livid with the man who abducts her from the clutches of her new friends and rides off into the sunset with her? Is his explanation reasonable? Can she convince him to help her find her sister? Can she trust him?

And is she about to fall in love with a homesteader on the untamed prairies of Kansas?

Publisher’s Warning: This full-length novel takes an honest look at human trafficking, opium dependence, and suicide in the “wild west.” While not graphic in their descriptions, readers should be aware that they are present.

I enjoy mail order bride stories and while I enjoyed this one it sure took a twist I didn’t expect. As the publisher’s warning says, it deals with human trafficking, drug addiction, and suicide. While done in a careful, tasteful manner, please be aware that these are large parts of the story.

Well developed characters in an intriguing story line kept me reading quickly. Often on the edge of my seat, I had hopes for such a different ending but life isn’t always sunshine and roses. Author Chautona Havig has a way of writing a story that is captivating while you squirm. However Penelope’s Pursuit wasn’t all doom and gloom. There were moments that made me smile and were heartwarming. And yes, there is a romance in the midst of the tale.

If you’re ready for a mail order bride story that has depth and realism, then I highly recommend this book.

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

The Heart of Splendid Lake by Amy Clipston

Bestselling author Amy Clipston transports readers to a picturesque lakeside town in this heartwarming contemporary romance.

Brianna is the youngest of the three Porter sisters and the only one who chose to stay in the small town of Splendid Lake, North Carolina. She followed in her father’s footsteps and became an expert boat mechanic, helping him run their small resort with cabin rentals, a convenience store, and a marina. 

When Brianna’s father unexpectedly dies, Brianna is steeped in grief and guilt—then left alone to clean up the mess. To make matters worse, a constant stream of real estate brokers begins marching through her property, offering to buy the family land. In particular, she keeps running into handsome real estate mogul Scott Gibson. 

As Brianna struggles to keep it all together, Scott finds his way into her heart. And as the two fight against their feelings, they just might find themselves forging a surprising and exciting new love at Splendid Lake.

Author Amy Clipston has become a favorite writer of Amish fiction, so I didn’t know how to feel about a contemporary romance from her. Honestly, I was apprehensive about picking it up. But I’m so glad I did. The Heart of Splendid Lake was a well written compelling read. Seriously, once I started I didn’t want to put it down.

The characters struggle through life’s trials of health issues and death, possible financial ruin, and a relationship that has become stale but safe. Both Brianna and Scott are strong, determined, and caring. But Scott drew me in with his selflessness and warmth.

Clipston’s descriptions of Splendid Lake are vivid and make me want to go sit there for a while. Maybe you’ll be heading to a lake vacation. Take this book with you!

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

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A Christmas Courtship by Shelley Shepard Gray

A solitary sort, forty-two-year-old Atle Petersheim spends his time hard at work in his wood shop. But as the days get long, he realizes just how lonely he’s become. When his longtime crush, Sadie Mast, a widow and mother of three, asks him to help her build a room in their barn for her son Cale, Atle can’t say no. Eager to pursue Sadie at last, he turns to bookmobile librarian Sarah Anne Miller for courting advice. More than happy to help, Sarah Anne decides the best way to learn about love is through books—romance novels to be precise.

Between completing holiday orders for her flourishing food business, helping Cale navigate a dramatic new relationship with his boss’s daughter, and coming to terms with the trauma her late husband had inflicted upon her and her children—not to mention Atle showing up at her door with flowers—Sadie is in over her head. Though Atle’s efforts are initially clumsy and his declarations a bit awkward, Sadie can’t help but be charmed by him. He’s patient and kind…and at times even seems to know far more about romance than he’s let on.

The third book in Gray’s Berlin Bookmobile series, you can read this as a standalone but please don’t. Books one and two are just as delightful as book three.

The story of an older Amish man who has no idea how to court the widow he loves, or how to win over her three children, I found Atle to be charmingly bumbly while Sadie is determined to make it on her own. Throw in a mess with son Cale and his boss’ family and there are a lot of emotions happening. All at Christmas.

Is it possible to learn how to court by reading an English romance? Can a 16 year old know who he wants to court? Love abounds in Berlin and I highly recommend this entire series.

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

Spouse in the House by Cynthia Ruchti & Becky Melby

A frank and funny look at what to do when together is too close

Two’s company, especially for those who love each other. So what happens when–due to retirement, working from home, or even running a business together–spouses find that being in the same space all the time is awkward, complex, annoying, and just plain challenging? How can partners co-exist without co-exhausting each other?

Cynthia Ruchti and Becky Melby know all too well how adjusting to a new, all-the-time closeness can cause the bliss of marriage to form blisters. Drawing from their experiences, and from men and women across the country in the same situation, the authors take a deep breath and dive into the root causes of the discomfort. They dig into the ways God’s Word addresses the topic, and they offer practical tips for learning the spiritual, emotional, relational, and even physical steps that can help readers replace irritation with peace.

For any Christian who wants their home to be a refuge of peace and serenity for all–not just themselves–and who wants to know they aren’t alone in the mental and physical claustrophobia of too much togetherness, Spouse in the House is a vulnerable, charming, and pragmatic breath of hope.

Is your spouse preparing to retire? Maybe they are being laid off? Whatever the reason, if they’re going to be home 24/7 this is a great book to read in preparation of that event. 

Just because we struggle with that change doesn’t mean we don’t love them, it just means life has changed and we need to adapt. Author Ruchti and Melby share humorous and warm stories about their lives as their husbands “invaded” the house and their time. Both are open about their feelings and how they faced some things in themselves through time in the scriptures. The tips shared are really helpful.

You’ll laugh out loud and probably make some attitude adjustments as you read this. I highly recommend it!

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

His Amish Wife’s Hidden Past by Mindy Steele

Becoming an Amish wife is her only option…

Englischer Hannah Raber will do anything to protect her children when they are sent into witness protection—even marry her late husband’s brother. Learning to be an Amish wife is a big adjustment, especially since she’s determined to keep an emotional distance. But as her girls bond with Daniel, Hannah can’t help but wonder if strangers from different worlds can turn a convenient marriage into a forever love…

Author Mindy Steele has become one of those authors that I enjoy so much I have to read each of her books. Her writing style is not only easy to read but compels me to continue reading. This book is no different!

Hiding among the Amish, Hannah learns a lot about the simple life. So well written I felt her attempts to fit in, yet her fear of doing so. We learn quite a bit about the Amish lifestyle, customs, and the whys, which I really appreciate. It makes me rather envious and I wonder if I could do it. 

A mystery, laced with humor and love of family, His Amish Wife’s Hidden Past is not only heartwarming, the suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat because you know something is coming. You just don’t know when and how. And I won’t tell you. Grab a copy and read it for yourself. You’ll be glad you spent time with the Raber family.

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

A Season of Change by Beth Wiseman

Finding peace means letting go of the past—and embracing the change that is to come. 

Sisters Esther and Lizzie have a new employee, Rose Petersheim, to help them tend to The Peony Inn. But their old matchmaking ways have stayed the same. The sisters focus their efforts on the lovely twenty-five-year-old Rose. Though Rose is witty and outspoken, her nervous chattering makes her the best match for someone calm and good at listening. Someone like Benjamin—the handsome handyman who recently moved to town. 

But when Esther receives an anonymous love letter and flowers, Rose’s love life is no longer the only one capturing the sisters’ attention. As they sleuth around searching for Esther’s secret admirer, they uncover that their grumpy renter, Gus, has a secret of his own that could bring about a difficult change in all their lives. And their continued meddling in Rose’s affairs reveals she, too, is hiding something—an old wound that could threaten her future happiness. 

As Rose, Lizzie, Esther, and Gus struggle to release the weight of their pasts, they discover that although people are complicated, love doesn’t need to be. 

Oh my. The matchmaking sisters are at it again. Esther and Lizzie just have to pair everyone up and it kept me laughing. Throw in a curmudgeon like Gus, and a chatterbox like Rose and this Amish novel by author Beth Wiseman is a delight.

And yet this story is not all fun and games, but has depth as we see Rose and Gus dealing with issues that will affect their entire lives. Wiseman delves into reasons why Rose is a chatterbox and it’s heartbreaking. And the way you see Gus will never be the same.

Along the way is a mystery or two as we try to figure out who Esther’s secret admirer is. And try to discover if Rose finds love or not.

A clean, heartwarming romance, I highly recommend it. 

Under the Texas Mistletoe by Karen Witemeyer

Three Charming and Festive Holiday Novellas Spiced with Humor, Frontier Action, and Sweet Romance

In this 3-in-1 novella collection, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer presents the new story “A Texas Christmas Carol,” in which a town’s wealthy, Scrooge-like bachelor finds his world invaded by a woman set on earning his donation for helping the local poor, and by the penetrating questions of three mysterious visitors.

It also includes, for the first time in print, “An Archer Family Christmas.” When the Archer clan gathers for the Christmas holiday, an unexpected request for help leaves Cassandra Archer directly in the path of a dangerous outlaw. Desperate to protect the woman he loves, Jim Archer races to the rescue, only to find that Cassie’s life is not the only one in peril. It will take a Christmas miracle–and the entire Archer clan–to keep a second Archer Christmas from ending in disaster.

In previously published “Gift of the Heart,” a widow and her young daughter move to Hope Springs for a fresh start. But with no money to secure a home, Ruth must convince a wealthy resort owner to accept her heirloom brooch as collateral. Will the pin that brought love to three generations soften the heart of a wounded recluse and give Ruth a second chance at love as the holidays draw near?

Sprinkled throughout the collection, you’ll find a hope-filled Christmas devotion, Witemeyer holiday recipes, and fun facts about nineteenth-century Christmas celebrations!

I love reading a good Christmas story, and author Karen Witemeyer has given us three in this set of novellas. I enjoyed them all, but especially An Archer Family Christmas. That family has been so enjoyable to read about that having a Christmas story was a bonus.

Under the Texas Mistletoe has everything you’re looking for in a Christmas read. Warmth. Family. Tradition. But these aren’t simply “feel good” stories. There’s also pain, mystery, hope, and healing. Witemeyer always uses her Christian faith in her stories, hence the hope and healing. These novellas also include recipes and facts about 19th century Christmas. Something for everyone. I highly recommend it!

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

Purchase here

An Amish Baby for Christmas by Vannetta Chapman

Holiday blessings aren’t always easy…

With a baby on the way…can this struggling widow save her home?

In danger of losing her farm after her husband’s death, Abigail Yutzy needs help—even if she can’t afford it. At her bishop’s insistence, property manager Thomas Albrecht pitches in to aid the pregnant widow. With his troubled past and her shattered heart, their arrangement must stay business only. But their uneasy holiday alliance might just heal both their hearts…

What a charming Christmas story. All the feels are in this story. Death of a spouse brings heartache. A pregnant widow on the verge of financial ruin. A determinedly single property manager who’s called on to help. All the makings of a wonderful Christmas romance. Or is it?

Both Abigail and Thomas have things from the past to deal with. Much like we do, ain’t so? Their banter made me laugh while their stubbornness, or is determination, made me want to shake them. My reactions mark it as a good story because it pulled emotions out of me. And then when the baby is born….who doesn’t enjoy a story with an infant? So heartwarming.

If you’re looking for a clean romance, with the warmth of Christmas, then look no further. Get a copy of An Amish Baby for Christmas, sit down with a cup of hot cocoa, and be transported to the Indiana Amish community.

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

Runaway Home by Amy Grochowski

Can love find a home for a runaway cowboy and the Amish woman he left behind?

Noah Detweiler thought he’d left his Amish life forever. After years on the Albertan prairie as a cowboy, he’s finally found peace with God and purpose at Second Chance Ranch working with special needs children. But when he discovers time is running out for any hope of reconciliation with his father, Noah is forced to revisit his past and the woman he left behind.

Rachel Erb remains content with Amish life on Prince Edward Island by focusing on her faith and her job caring for animals—until Noah returns and the secret longings of her heart are exposed. But loving Noah is destined to break her heart again—no matter what she chooses.

A future together seems as far out of reach as it ever has been for Noah and Rachel. Their dreams won’t be realized without sacrifice. Only who will pay the cost?

What an interesting story. Amish cowboys. The Amish on Prince Edward Island. An Amish Vet Tech. This book is not the typical Amish novel, but it is so good.

Well developed, true to life characters struggle with life. Forgiveness, both for those who have caused wounds and for self. A second chance romance. These “people” seem so real that I’d love to go visit.

The backdrop of Prince Edward Island is beautifully described and only increased my desire to visit “Anne’s Island.”

A wonderful tale, I highly recommend it.

Carved in Stone by Elizabeth Camden

Her gilded world holds a deeply hidden secret. 

After years of tragedy, Gwen Kellerman now lives a quiet life as a botanist at an idyllic New York college. She largely ignores her status as heiress to the infamous Blackstone dynasty and hopes to keep her family’s heartbreak and scandal behind her.

Patrick O’Neill survived a hardscrabble youth to become a lawyer for the downtrodden Irish immigrants in his community. He’s proud of his work, even though he struggles to afford his ramshackle law office. All that changes when he accepts a case that is sure to emphasize the Blackstones’ legacy of greed and corruption by resurrecting a thirty-year-old mystery.

Little does Patrick suspect that the Blackstones will launch their most sympathetic family member to derail him. Gwen is tasked with getting Patrick to drop the case, but the old mystery takes a shocking twist neither of them saw coming. Now, as they navigate a burgeoning attraction and growing danger, Patrick and Gwen will be forced to decide if the risk to the life they’ve always held dear is worth the reward.

Her gilded world holds a deeply hidden secret. 

After years of tragedy, Gwen Kellerman now lives a quiet life as a botanist at an idyllic New York college. She largely ignores her status as heiress to the infamous Blackstone dynasty and hopes to keep her family’s heartbreak and scandal behind her.

Patrick O’Neill survived a hardscrabble youth to become a lawyer for the downtrodden Irish immigrants in his community. He’s proud of his work, even though he struggles to afford his ramshackle law office. All that changes when he accepts a case that is sure to emphasize the Blackstones’ legacy of greed and corruption by resurrecting a thirty-year-old mystery.

Little does Patrick suspect that the Blackstones will launch their most sympathetic family member to derail him. Gwen is tasked with getting Patrick to drop the case, but the old mystery takes a shocking twist neither of them saw coming. Now, as they navigate a burgeoning attraction and growing danger, Patrick and Gwen will be forced to decide if the risk to the life they’ve always held dear is worth the reward.

Author Elizabeth Camden does an incredible job of writing about American history, specifically during the Gilded Era. Any reader will learn a lot about our history written in a deep, intriguing story in which we even learn how medicines come about.

Gwen and Patrick are as different as night and day. One rich, the other poor. Yet both have hearts that want to help people, yet  live a quiet life. 

A quick paced story with mystery and intrigue, I wonder if you’ll figure out who the bad guy is. It’s not easy! If you enjoy such books then I highly recommend Carved in Stone. It won’t disappoint!

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

Dinah’s Dilemma by Linda Shenton Matchett

Created with GIMP

Will she have to run from the past for the rest of her life?

Dinah Simpkins has no chance of making a good marriage. Her outlaw brothers and her father’s gambling addiction have ruined the family’s reputation. Then the Westward Home and Hearts Matrimonial Agency provides an opportunity for a fresh start. After Dinah arrives in Nebraska, she discovers her brothers played a part in the death of her prospective groom’s first wife.

As a former Pinkerton detective Nathan Childs knows when someone is lying. The bride sent by the matrimonial agency may be beautiful, but she’s definitely hiding something, and he has no intention of marrying her until he uncovers the truth. But an easier solution may be to send her packing. Then his young daughter goes missing. He and Dinah must put aside their mutual hurt and mistrust to find her.

The mail order bride trope is one of my favorites. I can’t imagine leaving all I know to travel across the country and marry a stranger. Yet it sounds like it could be exciting, and author Linda Shenton Matchett makes it even more so. Matchett, once again, does a good job with historical facts and weaves them into a compelling story. Add in spiritual faith and it’s even better.

Dinah travels far away to escape a family that has defined her. Nathan is grieving, but his daughter needs a mother more than he needs a wife. Dinah’s Dilemma contains all the emotions you would expect and possibly can relate to. Add in suspense and mystery and you won’t want to put it down. Matchett has become a favorite author and I highly recommend this book.

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

A Christmas in the Alps by Melody Carlson

After a time of heartache and loss, Simone Winthrop discovers a tantalizing letter from her French great-grandmother, which seems to suggest that she is heir to a family treasure. Ever practical, Simone assumes the claim is baseless, but her best friend encourages her to find out for sure. Despite her deep-rooted fear of flying, Simone boards a jet to travel to Paris at Christmastime to uncover the truth.

During the long flight, Simone meets the charming Kyle Larsson, who’s on his way to France to become an apprentice clockmaker. Though they abruptly part ways, an unexpected rendezvous in the French Alps at Simone’s family’s clock factory may lead to the discovery of the family treasure . . . and so much more.

For anyone who is wearying of staying home, Melody Carlson invites you to spend Christmas with her in the beautiful French Alps this year. So pull on your mittens, tie your scarf tight, and prepare yourself for a magical mountain holiday.

Author Melody Carlson writes an easy to read Christmas book that will transport you to France for the holiday. I loved the descriptions Carlson wrote; they were beautiful. And although I hate flying it tempted me to go some time.

A typical Carlson Christmas story, not full of a lot of drama but heartwarming with teachable moments as Simone learns where her treasure really is. The characters are all lovable and some that I would enjoy spending time with.

A quick, relaxing story, I recommend it if you enjoy contemporary Christmas stories.

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

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Beyond the Tides by Liz Johnson

When Meg Whitaker’s father decides to sell the family’s lobster-fishing business to her high school nemesis, she sets out to prove she should inherit it instead. Though she’s never had any interest in running the small fleet–or even getting on a boat due to her persistent seasickness–she can’t stand to see Oliver Ross take over. Not when he ruined her dreams for a science scholarship and an Ivy League education ten years ago.

Oliver isn’t proud of what he did back then. Angry and broken by his father walking out on his family, he lashed out at Meg–an innocent bystander. But owning a respected fishing fleet on Prince Edward Island is the opportunity of a lifetime, and he’s not about to walk away just because Meg wants him to.

Meg’s father has the perfect solution: Oliver and Meg must work the business together, and at the end of the season, he’ll decide who gets it. Along the way, they may discover that their stories are more similar than they thought . . . and their dreams aren’t what they expected.

Bestselling author Liz Johnson invites you back to Prince Edward Island for a brand-new series about family, forgiveness, and the kind of love that heals all wounds.

Author Liz Johnson starts a new series based on Prince Edward Island. I love reading about the island, because who hasn’t seen Anne of Green Gables? It’s so fun to return to PEI. And I honestly learned quite a bit about lobster-fishing, which I enjoyed. 

Beyond the Tides is a story about family. About the hurts and disappointments that can happen in life. And about forgiveness. We journey with the wonderful characters as they come to terms with some difficult things, learning that God is always there.

The book does talk about a terminal illness but also about making memories while you have the time with that person. It’s done in such a caring way that most people won’t be upset by it.

I’m so looking forward to book two. I can only guess it’s about one of Oliver’s brothers. I hope it is! If you enjoy Christian contemporary romance that’s clean and uplifting, then I recommend Beyond the Tides.

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

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The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery by Amanda Cox

Present Day. After tragedy plunges her into grief and unresolved anger, Sarah Ashby returns to her childhood home determined to finally follow her long-denied dream of running Old Depot Grocery alongside her mother and grandmother. But when she arrives, her mother, Rosemary, announces to her that the store is closing. Sarah and her grandmother, Glory Ann, make a pact to save the store, but Rosemary has worked her entire life to make sure her daughter never follows in her footsteps. She has her reasons–but she’ll certainly never reveal the real one.

1965. Glory Ann confesses to her family that she’s pregnant with her deceased fiancé’s baby. Pressured into a marriage of convenience with a shopkeeper to preserve the family reputation, Glory Ann vows never to love again. But some promises are not as easily kept as she imagined.

This dual-timeline story from Amanda Cox deftly explores the complexity of a mother-daughter dynamic, the way the secrets we keep shape our lives and the lives of others, and the healing power of telling the truth.

This is my first book by author Amanda Cox, and I’m wondering why. Now I have to go read The Edge of Belonging because Cox writes an incredible story with The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery. I need more from her.

Skillfully weaving the past and present together in this time slip, we see why the title is so fitting. Exploring the relationship of three women in one family, and the dangerous way keeping secrets can affect those relationships, you definitely want to read it and find out about the secret keepers!

Humor is lightly threaded throughout this emotionally charged book. It has great character development along with a compelling story line and I read it pretty quickly to see what would happen next. With mystery and light romance there is something for everyone and I highly recommend it.

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

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To Write a Wrong by Jen Turano

Miss Daphne Beekman is a mystery writer by day, inquiry agent by night. Known for her ability to puzzle out plots, she prefers working behind the scenes for the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency, staying well away from danger. However, Daphne soon finds herself in the thick of an attempted murder case she’s determined to solve.

Mr. Herman Henderson is also a mystery writer, but unlike the dashing heroes he pens, he lives a quiet life, determined to avoid the fate of his adventurous parents, who perished on an expedition when he was a child. But when he experiences numerous attempts on his life, he seeks out the services of the eccentric Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency to uncover the culprit. All too soon, Herman finds himself stepping out of the safe haven of his world and into an adventure he never imagined.

As the list of suspects grows and sinister plots are directed Daphne’s way as well, Herman and Daphne must determine who they can trust and if they can risk the greatest adventure of all: love.

The fun continues in Turano’s series, The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency. All I could think of while reading To Write a Wrong was that it was so droll. The author’s sense of humor definitely fits the definition of “curious or unusual in a way that provokes dry amusement.”

Characters to love and characters not to love, as well as amusing animals make this story one that I couldn’t put down. The situations Daphne and Herman find themselves in are ridiculously crazy. Unexpected twists and turns of a mystery add a level of intrigue that while not over the top edge of the seat, spices up the story. Of course Turano throws in romance so that this book includes something for everyone. I highly recommend it!

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

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The Walnut Creek Wish by Wanda Brunstetter

An Antique Store Becomes a Place of Healing for Broken Hearts

Welcome to Walnut Creek, Ohio, where Orley and Lois Troyer own an antique store they call “Memory Keepers.” Though knowledgeable in antiques and their repair, their real talent is in mentoring folks who are hurting and don’t even know it. Enter Jeff, a restaurateur, and Rhonda, a hotel manager, who recently moved to Amish country for the slow pace, but the change of scenery puts even more stress on their already strained marriage. Will an antique sled be the last straw, or will it lead to unexpected revelations and the fulfillment of dreams?

Author Wanda Brunstetter begins a new series, Creektown Discoveries, with a book that isn’t purely Amish, quite a change for her. English couple Jeff and Rhonda will learn and grow with help from Amish neighbors Orley and Lois. I really enjoyed seeing the lifestyle differences that can blend into friendship. Plus an antique store is woven throughout the story. I loved that setting!

This book has a lot of hardship in it and sometimes the characters irritated me,  but it also has much spiritual growth. We all struggle with things in life and this book is true to that. Yet we also have a God who is there for us, as we see throughout the story. I appreciate that the truth of salvation is part of this story.

I do find Brunsetter’s writing a bit stilted but if you’re looking for a story that will leave you with hope, then I recommend The Walnut Creek Wish.

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

The Amish Quiltmaker’s Unexpected Baby by Jennifer Beckstrand

In the first in an engaging new series, an Amish quiltmaker moves from Pennsylvania to a new settlement in Colorado, where adventure, challenges, and love are waiting . . .

Esther Zook is starting over after her father’s death, piecing together a new life with as much care as she puts into her intricate quilts. When her wayward sister abandons her baby, it throws all those plans for a fresh start asunder. Esther had accepted her status as an old maid—but a mother? And a single one, at that? Not that she hasn’t noticed Levi Kiem, the eligible young man who’s making repairs in her house. Yet he surely has no interest in Esther as anything other than a friend . . .

It’s true that Levi has plenty of marriage prospects. His dat has even offered to send him to Ohio to find a wife. Yet the more time he spends with Esther, the more intrigued he becomes. Feisty and independent, she’s nothing like the wife he once imagined for himself. Yet just as a quilt is crafted from contrasting cloth, they might find that together, they can create a family to cherish . . .

Well this was fun to read. And challenging to read. And sometimes I wanted to shake Esther for being dense and a push over. BUT that’s part of what made this charming book one that I couldn’t put down.

Well developed characters who you either love or…..don’t love. An adorable baby that only Levi can handle. And redemption. All wrapped up in one book. I highly recommend it!

‘Til I Want No More by Robin Pearson

When the man she loved years ago returns to town, one young woman’s complicated past rises again, threatening to expose her well-kept secrets.

If Maxine could put her finger on the moment when her life went into a tailspin, she would point back twenty years to the day her daddy died. She tells herself he’s the only person who ever really knew and loved her, and if he hadn’t left her behind, her future would’ve taken a different path. No absentee mother, no stepfather, no rebellious ripping and running during her teenage years. And no JD, who gave her wandering young heart a home, at least for a time.

But that’s over and done with. All grown-up now, Maxine has pledged her heart and ring finger to Theodore Charles, the man she’ll promise to love, honor, and obey in front of God and everybody. At least that’s what she’s telling anybody who will listen. The only folks buying it are the dog and the readers of her column, however. Her best friend and family aren’t having it—not even Celeste, the double bass–playing thirteen-year-old the community of Mount Laurel, North Carolina, believes is Maxine’s adopted sister. And apparently, neither is the newly returned JD, who seems intent on toppling Maxine’s reconstructed life. As her wedding day marches ever closer, Maxine confronts what it means to be really known and loved by examining what’s buried in her own heart and exposing truth that has never seen the light of day.

A Christian fiction novel with a poignant story of romance, a search for truth, and a journey to redemption. For fans of Chris Fabry, Lauren Denton, and Charles Martin.

I fell in love with author Robin Pearson’s writing with her first book, A Long Time Comin’. I was hoping ‘Til I Want No More would live up to my expectations and it certainly did. I loved visiting with old friends again and seeing what everyone was up to. And of course we meet new friends who capture our hearts.

Pearson’s characters must deal with the past when secrets and lies begin to unravel. Will love hold true? She kept me wondering right to the end. Along the way we see the necessity of forgiveness, both towards others and ourselves. Life is miserable without it. 

Truly you will be drawn right into this story with it’s true to life and even quirky characters. It’s fun. It’s poignant. It’s heart wrenching. It has all the feels and I highly recommend it.

Purchase here

The Christmas Visitor by Amy Grochowski

An Amish Dreams on Prince Edward Island Novella

Every so often, first love lasts a lifetime—and what seems impossible is made possible with God.

Mattie Beller is confident God’s plan for her life does not include marriage—ever. Her poor health has kept her an outsider, even in her close-knit Amish community. But when a visitor comes to the New Hope church district for the Christmas season, Mattie’s ideas about her future are turned upside down.

Amid a growing concern over her twin brother’s choices, even as her own heart tugs in two very different directions, Mattie learns that love comes in unexpected ways and can be a truly wonderful thing.

The novella bridging two of Author Amy Grochowski Prince Edward Island books, it could easily be read as a stand alone. But I would recommend reading book one, Forever Home, as we see a glimpse of old friends in The Christmas Visitor.

I read this on a hot summer day, because I can always read Christmas stories. I was enthralled from the first page. Grochowski does a really good job of bringing her characters to life. I could sense the concern, the feeling of not belonging, and then the hope that radiated from Mattie. I think she and I could be good friends! When a visitor shows up, the story ramps up, the pace becomes a bit quicker, and I was anxious to see what would happen.

If you’ve ever wondered about the Amish on PEI, I highly recommend reading The Christmas Visitor. You won’t be disappointed.

A Dream of A Family by Jill Weatherholt

To give a little girl a home…

she must take a chance on forgiveness.

From the minute Molly Morgan saw sad-eyed little Grace, she longed to give her a happy home. But Molly’s struggling bookstore is endangering her adoption chances. Outgoing entrepreneur Derek McKinney has a puppy Grace adores—and a plan to save Molly’s business. But can he and Molly put their troubled past behind them in time to make a family for a lifetime?

Author Jill Weatherholt has become a favorite as she skillfully blends trials and challenges with heartwarming characters. Throw in a puppy, a cute little girl in need of love, and a bookstore, and you have the makings for another wonderful read.

It was interesting to read of the suggestions Derek made to help Molly save her bookstore. These were things that a business owner in the real world could use. But more than that I enjoyed how the two characters worked through their differences, bringing healing and forgiveness to each other while giving Grace hope for a real family. 

Weatherholt deals with adoption in this story, and that is very personal to me. I loved how she handled it, with truth and with expectation. If you enjoy clean, light romance that is heartwarming, full of hope and joy, then I recommend A Dream of Family.

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

Beyond These War-Torn Lands by Cynthia Roemer

The War brought them together ~ Would it also tear them apart?

While en route to aid Confederate soldiers injured in battle near her home, Southerner Caroline Dunbar stumbles across a wounded Union sergeant. Unable to ignore his plea for help, she tends his injuries and hides him away, only to find her attachment to him deepen with each passing day. But when her secret is discovered, Caroline incurs her father’s wrath and, in turn, unlocks a dark secret from the past which she is determined to unravel.

After being forced to flee his place of refuge, Sergeant Andrew Gallagher fears he’s seen the last of Caroline. Resolved not to let that happen, when the war ends, he seeks her out, only to discover she’s been sent away. When word reaches him that President Lincoln has been shot, Drew is assigned the task of tracking down the assassin. A chance encounter with Caroline revives his hopes, until he learns she may be involved in a plot to aid the assassin.

In her newest book, author Cynthia Roemer moves from her much loved prairie series to the battlefields of the Civil War. And she does it very well. It’s easy to tell that she has done her research, as the details are intriguing and on point. I really enjoyed the history I learned, given in story form. 

The characters are well developed and like the rest of the book, well researched as to clothing, manner of speech, etc. They jump out of the pages of the book and come to life in your mind as you’re reading. It’s hard to imagine the horrors of war and of hating others so much, but Roemer brings the past to life. And through it all you’ll find hope, and a love from God that will soften hearts.

If you enjoy history with a Christian perspective, give Beyond These War-Torn Lands a read. Not a dry history book, I highly recommend it!

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

On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor by Jaime Jo Wright

1885. 

Adria Fontaine has been sent to recover goods her father pirated on the Great Lakes during the war. But when she arrives at Foxglove Manor–a stone house on a cliff overlooking Lake Superior–Adria senses wickedness hovering over the property. The mistress of Foxglove is an eccentric and seemingly cruel old woman who has filled her house with dangerous secrets, ones that may cost Adria her life. 

Present day. 

Kailey Gibson is a new nurse’s aide at a senior home in a renovated old stone manor. Kidnapped as a child, she has nothing but locked-up memories of secrets and death, overshadowed by the chilling promise from her abductors that they would return. When the residents of Foxglove start sharing stories of whispers in the night, hidden treasure, and a love willing to kill, it becomes clear this home is far from a haven. She’ll have to risk it all to banish the past’s demons, including her own.

I’m a huge fan of author Jaime Jo Wright; she never disappoints if you enjoy suspense and/or dual timelines. I loved that it was set by Lake Superior. I love all things Great Lakes. All that yet this wasn’t my favorite book by Wright. I struggled to get into it for some reason. It wasn’t the writing, as that was on point. It felt a bit slow. It easily could have been my own frame of mind at the time, so I will try it again at a later date. Authors understand that their books won’t wow everyone every time.

Not a light read, which wasn’t expected, Wright’s characters are well developed, and likeable. Or eerie, depending on who you’re talking about. With history, romance, mystery, and lots of secrets you’re sure to find something that is intriguing to you. Oh, and let’s not forget a good ghost story done in total Jaime Jo Wright fashion. Grab a copy and give it a go!

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

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Project Scrooge by A.M. Heath

Can Scrooge find love from a friendship gone cold?

Sanford Stone cut ties with his best friend, Natalie, in favor of the love of his life … a woman who ended up walking out on him just before Christmas. Six years later, Sanford can’t bring himself to celebrate Christ’s birth with any joy. Little does he know, his grandmother and her companions have dubbed him the Scrooge and intend to help him overcome his bitterness and find happiness again.

The only thing that has hurt Natalie Dunivan more than Sanford cutting her out of his life has been watching his long-held grudges slowly destroy the man she has always loved. Together with Ms. Carol, Natalie devises a plan to reach out to Sanford.

Sanford accepts his grandmother’s challenge to celebrate Christmas for 31 straight days, but he didn’t count on her plan involving Natalie. Can his family and friends help their Scrooge see the error of his ways, or will Natalie’s presence only make things worse?

I don’t know about you, but I’m always in the mood for a good Christmas story. And this one helped to get me through a summer heat wave. 

An adorable story based on Charles Dickens’ familiar ghosts, I thoroughly enjoyed the shenanigans Grandma pulled, with the help of a few other people, including Natalie. The characters were well developed and incredibly likeable. I’d love to have hot chocolate and decorate for Christmas with them. Yes, even with the old Scrooge, Sanford. 

A story of redemption with all the Christmas feels I need, and maybe even romance, I highly recommend it if you enjoy contemporary Christian fiction.

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

Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong

How far would you go to find the perfect husband? All the way back to the 1950s?

In a world full of happily-ever-after love, Meri Newberg feels like the last young woman on the planet to be single, at least in her Christian friend group. So when she’s handed a strange present at the latest wedding–a 1950s magazine article of “ways to get a husband”–she decides there’s nothing to lose by trying out its advice. After all, she can’t get any more single, can she?

Her brother’s roommate sees the whole thing as a great opportunity. Not to fall in love–Kai Kamaka has no interest in the effort a serious relationship takes. No, this is a career jump start. He talks Meri into letting him film every silly husband-catching attempt for a new online show. If it goes viral, his career as a cameraman will be made.

When Meri Me debuts, it’s an instant hit. People love watching her lasso men on street corners, drop handkerchiefs for unsuspecting potential beaus, and otherwise embarrass herself in pursuit of true love. But the longer this game goes on, the less sure Kai is that he wants Meri to snag anyone but him. The only problem is that he may not be the kind of husband material she’s looking for . . .

With droll comic timing, unbeatable chemistry, and a zany but relatable cast of characters, Angela Ruth Strong has created a heartfelt look at the reality of modern Christian dating that readers will both resonate with and fall for.

The 1950s meet 2021 in this fun book by author Angela Ruth Strong. Meri’s list for catching a husband will crack you up, as will the relationship between Meri and Kai.

Strong’s wit shines through in the dialogue. The quips will keep you laughing, as will the stunts Meri pulls. In fact, be prepared to chortle out loud and receive strange looks from those you live with. Did women really go to such lengths to catch a husband? 

The romcom includes not just humor, but warmth and romance with the proper tension. It’s one of Strong’s finest so grab a copy.

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

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First Christmas on Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand

Before irrepressible eighty-somethings Anna and Felty Helmuth became Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin’s most-beloved matchmakers, they were mismatched young lovers facing seemingly impossible obstacles . . .

She can’t cook, sew, sing, or clean. And no matter how hard young Anna Yoder tries, she’d much rather help people in trouble than be a well-behaved pretty face and properly perfect Amish maidel. So she instantly reaches out to her old schoolmate, Felty Helmuth, when their Amish town ostracizes him for his Korean War army service. He’s still the only one who’s ever understood Anna—and liked everything from her green Jello carrot salads to her love of books. And this holiday season, she can’t help hoping that somehow she and Felty can find a way to be the perfect match . . .

Felty sensed he was called by Gotte to serve his country, though it went against his community’s peaceful ways. Troubled by his wartime experiences, he is resigned to being an outsider avoided by most eligible Amish girls. But lively, intelligent Anna has grown into a warm-hearted generous woman who accepts Felty for who he is. And in the face of family and community opposition, he and Anna will take a leap of faith to prove they are made for each other—and a lifetime of happiness.

If you’ve read any of the Huckleberry Hill series, you must read this one. I loved learning how Anna and Felty met and how their courtship progressed. I chuckled throughout the story, especially when author Jennifer Beckstrand wrote about Anna’s odd cooking combinations and why Felty was such a fan of them.

With Anna basically an Amish outcast, it was wonderful to see Felty accept her just the way she was and in fact adore her for it. Such a sweet romance. Tons of humor. And Christmas. What more can a reader want? I highly recommend it!

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

Christmas at the Amish Bakeshop by Shelley Shephard Gray, Rachel Good, Loree Lough

As the most joyful holiday draws near, three couples discover the recipe for love includes faith, hope, and the sweetest blessings . . .

A CHRISTMAS CAKE FOR REBECCA

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Shelley Shepard Gray

When carpenter Aden returns to Lancaster after twenty years away, bakeshop owner Rebecca is dismayed to find he’s still as handsome and kind as ever. He broke her heart when he left the community back then. Will a holiday emergency provide a second chance at love, this time forever?

BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER * USA Today Bestselling AuthorRachel J. Good

When a lonely widower with a sick daughter and a new cake decorator meet at the bakeshop, they discover they were once childhood playmates. But as each of them helps the other care for family, their neighborly kindness inspires a gift that only love could make possible . . .

THE CHRISTMAS CUPCAKE * USA Today Bestselling Author Loree Lough

A builder who never learned to read believes he must hide his fond feelings for a kind schoolteacher. But after they run into each other at the bakeshop, she offers to teach him—and as Christmas approaches, each of them learns a lesson about the great gift of love . . .

I am such a sucker for a good Christmas story, and these are all good. Throw in a bakeshop and they’re beyond good. Full of Christmas charm, I enjoyed each one. I liked the way the characters overlapped in each story. You felt as though you really got to know them and wanted to spend time with them. At the bakeshop of course, having coffee and Christmas cookies.

Each story is heartwarming, full of second chances, faith, and hope. If you enjoy Amish stories, Christmas stories, or simply relaxing novellas, then I highly recommend this one.

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

An Amish Flower Farm by Mindy Steele

She grows flowers.

He raises bees for honey.

They help each other out,

because that’s what neighbors do…

Belinda Graber loves growing flowers for her family to sell at the Amish marketplace. Venturing beyond the farm to sell them in town, though, is out of the question. People would stare at the birthmark on her cheek, and she’s dealt with enough teasing in her life.

As a beekeeper, Adam Fisher knows how blessed he is to live next door to the Grabers’ greenhouses and fields. But when his father is injured, Adam has to take a job at the local mill. How will he manage the honey harvest?

Adam and Belinda make a deal: if she tends his hives, he’ll sell her flowers in town.

Belinda’s sure that her growing feelings for Adam could never be returned. Meanwhile, Adam can’t help but notice how his shy neighbor charms the bees…or is he the one being charmed? Because his last courtship ended badly, Adam tells himself this arrangement is strictly business, even if Belinda is sweet as honey.

This uplifting Amish romance includes a free Hallmark original recipe.

This is my first book by author Mindy Steele, and I’m now frantically looking for her other books. Seriously, this is my favorite book this year. If you enjoy Amish fiction then this is a must read.

So, why is it my favorite? Steele writes in such a way that I was thoroughly captivated from page one. Her style flows so well, and it draws the reader in. I completely lost track of time and felt fully immersed in the story.

Characters Belinda and Adam are strong and well developed. Belinda doesn’t know she’s strong but she definitely is. Both have hurts that need healed, just as we do in real life. The descriptions of each of them make me feel I know them well. I’d love to walk through her flower garden, and check out his bee farm. To sit with them and have a cup of coffee would be so fulfilling because of course they’re real people, right? I know when I feel that way it’s an incredible book.

A story of courage, perseverance, and love I highly recommend.

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

Love’s Dwelling by Kelly Irvin

God always had a plan. But how could falling in love with an Englischer be God’s plan for one young Amish woman? 

Young Cassie Weaver only wants what is expected of an Amish woman: a good Amish husband and a large family. But she’s happy as Job and Dinah Keim’s housekeeper, helping Dinah, who is losing her sight due to diabetes. For two decades the Keims have prayed for the salvation of their two children who left the community in a cloud of shame and mystery. 

Mason knew there was more to his mother’s past than she let on, but nothing could have prepared him for learning about his Amish roots upon his mother’s sudden death. Even more surprising, his mother named her Amish parents, Job and Dinah, as guardians to her five children. Now Mason has to trust that this couple, and their pretty housekeeper, can take care of his younger siblings, even when all he wants is to take care of them himself. 

As the children adjust to this new lifestyle, Mason finds himself pulled back to the Keims’ home. Yes, he wants to see his siblings, but it’s the conversations with Cassie that keep him coming back for more. Is there more to this Amish faith and how does it play into his own past? Cassie guards against her growing feelings for Mason, because there can be no happy ending for a Plain girl in love with an Englisch man . . . right? 

Bestselling and award-winning Amish romance novelist Kelly Irvin is back with a heartwarming tale of the power of love to heal all wounds.

Book one in author Kelly Irvin’s new series, Amish Blessings, went in a direction I didn’t expect. But in a good way!

Heartwarming, this book will keep you on your toes as five English children show up with plenty of baggage. Throw in an Amish maedel who is determined to help, and an older English brother who doesn’t know what he wants yet, and there are lots of emotional ups and downs.

There is a lot of loss in this story, along with addictions, and health issues; it’s not a syrupy sweet tale. But Irvin writes it in such a way that hope is always front and center. Hope and love of family. If you enjoy Amish fiction then I highly recommend Love’s Dwelling. I’m looking forward to book 2

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

Purchase here

Mysteries of the Messiah by Rabbi Jason Sobel

Are you settling for half the story? Highlighting connections that have been hidden from non-Jewish eyes, Rabbi Jason Sobel will connect the dots between the Old and New Testament, helping you see the Bible with clarity as God intended.

Most people—even people of faith—do not understand how the Bible fits together. Too many Christians accept half an inheritance, content to embrace merely the New Testament, while Jewish people may often experience the same by embracing only the Old Testament. But God has an intricate plan and purpose for both the Old and the New.

In Mysteries of the Messiah, Rabbi Jason Sobel reveals the many connections in Scripture hidden in plain sight. Known for his emphatic declaration “but there’s more!” he guides us in seeing the passion and purpose of the Messiah. Mysteries of the Messiah:

  • Uncovers connections between the Old and New Testaments
  • Connects the dots for readers with details about Jesus, the Torah, and biblical characters
  • Written with the unique perspective of a rabbi with an evangelical theological degree

No matter how many times you have read the Bible, Mysteries of the Messiah will bring fresh perspective and insight. God’s Word, written by many people over thousands of years, is not a random selection of people and stories. Rabbi Jason Sobel connects the dots and helps us see with clarity what God intended.

I appreciate that the author started off with a biography, telling how he came to faith in Jesus. It really put the entire book in perspective for me. After that it’s not about the human side of his story but about the Jesus side. And linking the Old and New Testaments the way he does with numbers is quite interesting. Sobel taught many unknown things about the Jewish culture that also helped to link things in my brain.

Don’t let all the numbers stop you. I’m not a numbers person but a word person, yet I learned a lot and had many defining moments. As the Rabbi says, you will see Jesus in high definition and full color. And I found it interesting that he is one of the consultants for The Chosen, giving him even more credibility. 

If you want to learn more about Jesus in the Old and New Testament, then I suggest getting a copy of Mysteries of the Messiah, grabbing a notebook and pencil, and digging in.

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

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Pockets of Purpose by Laurie Stroup Smith

Two years after exchanging her first love letters with Gideon Petersheim, Dixie Yoder tucks his notes into her pocket quilt and travels from Pinecraft to Holmes County, hopeful for a future together

Their relationship blossoms until the auctioneer has surgery to remove a cyst from his vocal cords. Complications from the procedure interfere with his healing, leaving him searching for his passions and purpose. Instead of leaning on Dixie through this tough time, Gideon pushes her away and turns his back on God..

Frustrated and heartbroken, Dixie is torn between staying in Ohio with the new friends she has grown to love or returning to Pinecraft to nurse a broken heart. Knowing what he’s losing, Gideon must fight through the anger to find his way back to her. But is he too late?

Book 2 in the Pocket Quilt series, you can read this as a stand alone, so just jump in. Author Laurie Stroup Smith writes an Amish story based on pocket quilts. I love the concept of these, and even have my own small quilted pocket pillow. They’re such fun!

The characters in this charming story are well developed and likeable. It was hard to “see” Gideon work through the surgery complications and the changes it brought to his life. But so rewarding to see him grow and come to accept some things. And poor Dixie was heartbroken which again, isn’t fun to “see.” I really wondered what would happen with these two as they both learned to trust God when life doesn’t go as planned.

If you enjoy Amish fiction with light romance and a scriptural basis, then I recommend Pockets of Purpose.

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

The Mistletoe Countess by Pepper Basham

Will the magic of Christmas bring these two newlyweds closer together, or will the ghosts of the past lead them into a destructive discovery from which not even a Dickens’s Christmas can save them?

Mistletoe is beautiful and dangerous, much like the woman from Lord Frederick’s Percy’s past, so when he turns over a new leaf and arranges to marry for his estate, instead of his heart, he never expects the wrong bride to be the right choice. Gracelynn Ferguson never expected to take her elder sister’s place as a Christmas bride, but when she’s thrust into the choice, she will trust in her faithful novels and overactive imagination to help her not only win Frederick’s heart but also to solve the murder mystery of Havensbrook Hall before the ghosts from Frederick’s past ruin her fairytale future. 

I’ve put off writing this review for a while because I just didn’t know how to get started. Author Pepper Basham has written a story that will be a favorite, probably for life.

Oh, the characters in The Mistletoe Countess. Gracelynn is incredibly warm hearted and has a great sense of humor. Even when faced with the unthinkable she wants the best for others. Frederick is definitely swoon worthy, especially as he grows to care for Grace. Such a handsome, protective man. Havensbrook Hall has ghosts and mysteries and people who definitely need to be loved. And all set at Christmas among a family of book lovers. 

There are so many literal laugh out loud moments throughout The Mistletoe Countess that at times I garnered strange looks from my husband. But equally as compelling was the faith message. The fact that God loves us always, regardless of who we are, and that He is working our life out as it should be, even when circumstances seem tough.

To top it off, there is a mystery afoot as someone is trying to kill…..someone. (I’m not giving anything away; you’ll need to read it for yourself.) When Grace decides to solve the mystery the game is on and you’ll be spellbound, trying to figure out who dun it.

With something for everyone, including some well placed kissing because after all it is a Basham book, I highly recommend you read The Mistletoe Countess.

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

An Unlikely Match by Beth Wiseman

When sparks fly between a good Amish girl and a hunky member of the Hollywood elite, even matchmaking innkeepers Esther and Lizzie know better than to fan the flames. 

Evelyn Schrock has dismissed the attempts of every young man in her small Amish community to court her. She’s willing to wait for a suitor who shares her curiosities about life and faith. 

The only reason Jayce Clarkson is in Amish country hefting equipment for his famous father’s movie production company is for the paycheck. The homestyle cooking at the Peony Inn is a perk though, as is his friendship with Evelyn Schrock. If Jayce can endure his dad’s put-downs for a month, he’ll finally be in a position to make a fresh start—somewhere away from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles and the shadow of his checkered past. 

To matchmakers Esther and Lizzie, the widowed sisters who operate the inn, Jayce seems like a good man stuck in a life he doesn’t want. But the boy isn’t Amish, and that leaves far too much room for broken hearts. Despite that, Jayce and Evelyn start to realize that they can’t deny their growing attraction. Any path forward seems impossible, and they will have to learn what the future will look like when they leave their fate in Gott’s hands. 

Although this is book two in The Amish Inn Novels, don’t let that stop if you haven’t read book one, A Picture of Love. An Unlikely Match can be read as a standalone, although you will want to read book one because it’s good.

The book was a bit surprising because you don’t often read about an Amish girl falling for the son of a movie producer. That pretty much goes against the Ordnung. But that doesn’t stop author Beth Wiseman from tackling it, and doing it well.

With likeable characters who will make you laugh, such as sisters Lizzie and Esther, and househelp Rose, you’ll want to go visit the Peony Inn. Oh, and let’s not forget grumpy old Gus who has a secret I never expected.

This story is charming, shows that we all want to be loved and accepted, and has a mystery along with a sweet romance. I loved it and hope you will to.

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

On Skein of Death by Allie Pleiter

For Libby Beckett, opening her charming yarn shop, and introducing customers to the joys of knitting and crochet, is the work she was meant to do.  Until the yarn she loves is used for murder….

Libby has come home to Collinstown, Maryland to live her dream and open her own yarn shop, aptly named Y.A.R.N., along the Chester River. To Libby, Y.A.R.N. stands for “You’re Absolutely Ready Now.” But the acronym changes whenever inspiration strikes, and customers add to the list of suggestions that fill the blackboard wall in a shop stuffed with color, fiber, and comfort. 

Libby is thrilled when she lands famous Norwegian knitting celebrity Perle Langager for a series of events  at Y.A.R.N. Libby’s English bulldog, Hank, has been modeling one of Perle’s doggie sweaters, and customers just can’t wait to see Perle in action. The mayor of Collinstown even decrees a Collinstown Yarn Day to celebrate. But once Perle arrives in town, she seems distracted and on edge.  And when she’s found strangled with a skein of red yarn, Libby knows she has to solve a knotty mystery before her new life unravels.

Do you enjoy a cozy mystery? Then grab a copy of On Skein of Death. Not only will you be trying to figure out who dun it, you’ll enjoy the mystery along with the laughter.

Author Allie Pleiter paints a lovely picture with her descriptions of the yarn shop, Y.A.R.N., of the town of Collinstown, and the quirky people of the town. I especially enjoyed “meeting” Libby’s mother and her group of friends,the Gals. They’re so cute. I would love to visit, have a cup of coffee, and have them show me some new knitting techniques. That’s how real it felt.

On Skein of Death is a great start to Pleiter’s newest series, A Riverbank Knitting Mystery. I recommend it!

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

The Shell Collector by Nancy Naigle

Two years after her husband’s death, Amanda Whittier has two children to raise alone, an abandoned dream of starting a business, and a fixer-upper cottage by the sea. She has no room in her life for anything else and little interest in moving on after losing the man she loved. 

Paul Grant is a relative newcomer to the area, and his work with former military dogs needing rehabilitation has been good for the town. Though he loved once before, he’s convinced he’s not suited for romance and is determined to find meaning—alone—through his work and role in the community. 

Widowed Maeve Lindsay was born and raised on Whelk’s Island. Spirited, kind, and a little mischievous, she pours her life into the town. But she carries a secret that shapes her every move. 

Together, these three souls find encouragement in the most mysterious places and discover a love that’s bigger than their pain, healing their wounded hearts in ways none of them could have hoped for or expected.

A good summer read, The Shell Collector shows us that friendship and love are great healers of wounds. Amanda is trying to move on after losing her husband, Paul has been hurt in love, and Maeve loves her town and its people. Wrap them all together and you have a story that tugs on the heart. Think of a sweet Hallmark movie.

Will all the emotions, you’ll want to head for Whelk’s Island, walk the beach, and look for shells. And maybe you should.

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

Pint of No Return by Dana Mentink

The first in a new dessert cozy mystery series! A murder in town is bound to shake things up…

After her divorce from her thrice-married embezzler husband, Trinidad Jones is finally ready for a fresh start. So when she’s left one of ex’s businesses in Upper Sprocket, Oregon, she decides to pack up her dog, cash in her settlement, and open her dream business: the Shimmy and Shake Shop, introducing the world to her monster milkshakes. And even with a couple sticky situations underway, namely that the other two ex-wives also call Sprocket home, Trinidad’s life seems to be churning along smoothly.

That is, until she discovers her neighbor, the Popcorn King, head down in his giant popcorn kettle. When one of Trinidad’s fellow ex-wives is accused of the murder and Upper Sprocket descends into mayhem, it’s going to take a supersized scoop of courage to flush out the killer.

If you enjoy a cozy mystery, give this one a try. Author Dana Mentink’s new series may leave you hungry for milkshakes as well as for book two in the series.

The characters were fairly well written, although the ex-husband stuff did get a bit old. With a trio of ex’s, along with some interesting characters and Noodles the dog, you’ll have a lot of personalities to follow.

I did enjoy the Miami girl moving to small town Oregon. Along with the mystery, Mentink wrote an entertaining first book to her Dessert Cozy Mystery series. Grab a copy and see if you can figure out who dun it.

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

The Heart’s Charge by Karen Witemeyer

Members of Hanger’s Horsemen, Mark Wallace and Jonah Brooks arrive in Llano County, Texas, to deliver a steed, never expecting they’d deliver a baby as well. Left with an infant to care for, they head to a nearby foundling home, where Mark encounters the woman he’d nearly married a decade ago.

After failing at love, Katherine Palmer dedicated her life to caring for children, teaming up with Eliza Southerland to start Harmony House. From mixed ancestry, illegitimate, and female, Eliza understands the pain of not fitting society’s mold. Yet those are the very attributes that lead her to minister to outcast children. The taciturn Jonah intrigues her with his courage and kindness, but there are secrets behind his eyes–ghosts from wars past and others still being waged.

However, when a handful of urchin children from the area go missing, a pair of Horsemen are exactly what the women need. Working together to find the children, will these two couples find love as well?

I loved reading about Hanger’s Horsemen in book one, At Love’s Command, and I was sure author Karen Witemeyer couldn’t outdo that story. But she did. The Heart’s Charge left me even more eager for book 3!

Heroes Jonah and Mark are definitely swoon worthy. Handsome, strong of character, defender of the weak, what more could you want? And Katherine and Eliza are warm hearted and caring while dealing with situations from their pasts. All wrapped together, they make this story sing.

Reading about the children, especially the boxcar children, broke my heart. Yet adding the children to the story gave it more life and realism.

Historical fiction, with clean romance, a spiritual thread, and mystery. Something for everyone and I highly recommend it!

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

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Come Back to Me by Jody Hedlund

The ultimate cure that could heal any disease? Crazy.

That’s exactly what research scientist Marian Creighton has always believed about her father’s quest, even if it does stem from a desire to save her sister Ellen from the genetic disease that stole their mother from them. But when her father falls into a coma after drinking a vial of holy water believed to contain traces of residue from the Tree of Life, Marian must question all of her assumptions. He’s left behind tantalizing clues that suggest he’s crossed back in time. Insane. Until Marian tests his theories and finds herself in the Middle Ages during a dangerous peasant uprising.

William Durham, a valiant knight comes to Marian’s rescue and offers her protection . . . as his wife. The longer Marian stays in the past, the more she cares about William. Can she ever find her father and make it back to the present to heal her sister? And when the time comes to leave, will she want to?

Bestselling author Jody Hedlund is your guide down the twisting waters of time to a volatile era of superstition, revolts, and chivalry in this suspenseful story.

So some reviews are complaining about the improbability of what happens in this book and questions whether a Christian should read a book about time travel and romance. Come on, this is not a non-fiction story but rather a time travel, “what if” type of book. Personally I think author Jody Hedlund did a fantastic job with a challenging subject.

I really enjoyed the twists in this story. Such as Marian getting peaks of William before she travels to the 1300s. It was intriguing. Learning about that time in the past with it’s superstitions and revolts was really interesting. Add in the fact that the genetic disease talked about is a very real disease makes this book full of interesting facts while wrapped up in a wild tale that lets your imagination run free.

If you enjoy time travel, romance, historical fiction, or just want to try something new then grab a copy of Come Back to Me and prepare for quite a ride.

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

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Return to the Big Valley by Wanda, Jean, & Richelle Brunstetter

The Brunstetters Return to a Unique Amish Setting for Three New Stories of Love

Journey back to an area of Pennsylvania that is home to three distinct Amish communities and meet three young women who face heartfelt disappointments in romance.

Wilma’s Wish by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Wilma Hostetler has been courted by Israel Zook for the last year, and he’s recently proposed marriage. But when his sister dies, leaving him to care for five young nephews who openly dislike Wilma, she has second thoughts of starting with a ready-made family and decides to call off the wedding. Can anything be done to restore the relationship, or will Israel seek another wife?

Martha’s Miracle by Jean Brunstetter

Martha Yoder is different from other Amish women in her love of hunting and the outdoors. Meeting Glen Swarey, who is working with the local fire department, seems to be a good match. But can Martha accept Glen’s thoughts of leaving the Amish faith, or will she walk away from a chance at love?

Alma’s Acceptance by Richelle Brunstetter

Alma Wengerd is a young widow who leaves her home in Kentucky to stay with friends in Pennsylvania. Soon she is speeding into a renewed romance with Elias Kurtz and raising the brows of the older church members. When Alma is waylaid by some unexpected news, could putting her happiness with Elias on hold be her only option?

First, let me say that although these stories take place in the Big Valley, where we first went through The Brides of Big Valley, each story is a standalone.

All three Brunstetter authors wrote a story based in the yellow top community. I find it interesting, because so often we think all Amish communities are alike, but we learn here they aren’t. As well as unique communities, the characters in all three stories are also unique. An overnight mother of five. A woman who prefers hunting over quilting. A widow who is acting OCD as she deals with her pain. Well developed characters who grow as they trust God, I enjoyed seeing their maturing process.

What I noticed in this set of novellas is that all three authors have a similar writing style. Maybe a bit stiff for my preference but still well written. If you enjoy Amish fiction I recommend Return to the Big Valley.

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

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Along a Storied Trail by Ann H. Gabhart

Kentucky packhorse librarian Tansy Calhoun doesn’t mind the rough trails and long hours as she serves her Appalachian mountain community during the Great Depression. Yet she longs to find love like the heroines in her books. When a charming writer comes to town, she thinks she might have found it–or is the perfect man actually closer than she thinks?

Perdita Sweet has called these mountains home for so long she’s nearly as rocky as the soil around her small cabin. Long ago she thought she could love, but when the object of her affection up and married someone else, she stopped giving too much of herself away to others.

As is so often the case, it’s easier to see what’s best for others than to see what’s best for oneself, and Perdita knows who Tansy should choose. But why would anyone listen to the romantic advice of an old spinster?

Author Ann Gabhart, an excellent storyteller, can always be relied on to tell a tale that captures the reader from the first word. Along a Storied Trail is no exception to this expectation.

I loved reading and learning about Kentucky packhorse librarians. I think that would have been a fun job to have. Tansy Calhoun loves it, as she enjoys taking the written word to people who may not be able to get a book any other way. I enjoyed getting to know Tansy and her heart for others. But she isn’t the only great character in this book. It’s chock full of them! Perdita is spicy and longs for family. Caleb is a wonderful hero as he takes care of others so well. I loved them all!

The history woven through the story adds meat to it. Along with packhorse librarians we learn about the Civilian Conservation Corps as well as the Writer’s Project. All in a delightfully told narrative. I highly recommend it!

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

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Amish Friend’s Healthy Options Cookbook by Wanda Brunstetter

Loaded with dozens of Amish recipes for the health conscious.

New, from New York Times bestselling author of Amish fiction, Wanda E. Brunstetter, is valuable cookbook that offers healthy recipe options.

Everyone wants to feel healthy, right? Food can be one of our best medicines, and many Amish are known for seeking ways for health to begin in the kitchen. Brand new, from New York Times bestselling author of Amish fiction, Wanda E. Brunstetter, is a helpful cookbook from Amish and Mennonite cooks who offer healthy recipe options. Over 200 recipes are divided into traditional categories from main dishes and sides to desserts and snacks with labels for gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, etc. Also included are health tips and remedies. Encased in a lay-flat binding and presented in full color, home cooks of all ages will be eager to add this cookbook to their collections.

I found this cookbook to be full of interesting recipes that I look forward to trying. Some will require me to buy a few healthy ingredients I don’t have in the house, but they are used in small amounts and can be used in many recipes.

I like how the book is laid out not only in chapters by subject but then labeled dairy free, gluten free, nut free, etc. These labels are in different colors, making it very easy to recognize for use. So helpful for those of us who need to watch for different dietary needs. I will say I raised an eyebrow at the Home Remedies section. While some I can see as plausible, and even a few I use, others call for ingredients I would never use and border on dangerous. But it was still interesting to read.

If you enjoy cookbooks, and want one that is different then most, then I recommend you give this one a try.

Murder at Madison Square Garden by Linda Shenton Matchett

The dream of a lifetime becomes a nightmare.

Photojournalist Theodora “Teddy” Schafer’s career has hit the skids thanks to rumors of plagiarism. With any luck, a photo spread with Charles Lindbergh at the America First Rally will salvage her reputation. After an attempted assassination of Lindbergh leaves another man dead, Teddy is left holding the gun. Literally. Can she prove her innocence before the police lock her up for a murder she didn’t commit?

Private Investigator Ric Bogart wants nothing to do with women after his wife cleaned out their bank account and left him for another man, but he can’t ignore the feeling he’s supposed to help the scrappy, female reporter who is arrested for murder at the America First rally. Can he believe her claims of innocence and find the real killer without letting Teddy steal his heart?

Author Linda Shenton Matchett brings us another suspenseful story with Murder at Madison Square. Matchett has clearly done her research with this time period. She has captured it well, and it shows with her song and movie choices, along with description of clothing and scene settings. She really does transport you back to the 1930s.

The characters are well developed and again, appropriate for the time period. Using the slang of the day, they drew me into the story. Ric and Teddy dance around a relationship in a way that sometimes made me chuckle, other times exasperated me. Both great responses.

If you enjoy a good mystery with clean romance and a Christian theme, then I highly recommend this book.

Ruth by Caryl McAdoo

The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Fleeing heartache, shame, and betrayal, Ruth finds all her plans thwarted until the untimely death of a goat that gives her hope! Hired as a wet-nurse for Logan’s motherless son, she rejects his marriage-of-convenience proposal, hoping to find true love at the trail’s end. Going West (in what was later called the Great Migration of 1842) satisfies the widower’s wanderlust, and even though she turns him down, he determines to prove his love is true. Come along on this infamous journey of love and adventure.

Book 8 in the Prairie Roses Collection is a standalone so if you’re like me and haven’t read the first seven in the series no worries. Just jump in.

This delightful story about a wet nurse takes place during the push west. I enjoyed the bits of history that author Caryl McAdoo put in it. It definitely rounds out the story well. The characters are flawed and likeable, just like all of us. While they work through their issues together, we see God’s hand on them as they find forgiveness and grow into a sweet romance.

While this is a clean novel, McAdoo doesn’t skirt around the challenges of improper relationships, a sassy teenager, and real life on the trail. This includes a woman nursing two babies and the teen who “becomes a woman.” But it is well written and if you enjoy Christian historical fiction I can recommend Ruth.

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

No Journey Too Far by Carrie Turansky

A family long divided, a mysterious trunk, and a desperate journey across the ocean—all in the name of love. The epic saga of the McAlisters continues in this riveting sequel to No Ocean Too Wide.

In 1909, Grace McAlister set sail for Canada as one of the thousands of British Home Children taken from their families and their homeland. Though she is fortunate enough to be adopted by wealthy parents, the secrets of her past are kept hidden for ten years until someone from her long-buried childhood arrives on her doorstep. With this new connection to her birth family, will she be brave enough to leave her sheltered life in Toronto and uncover the truth?

After enduring hardship as an indentured British Home Child, Garth McAlister left Canada to serve in World War I. His sweetheart, Emma Lafferty, promised to wait for his return, but after three long years apart, her letters suddenly stopped. When Garth arrives home from the war to unexpected news, he is determined to return to Canada once more on a daunting mission to find the two women he refuses to abandon—his long-lost sister and his mysteriously missing sweetheart.

No Journey Too Far can be read as a stand alone, however it will make more sense and be more enjoyable if you read No Ocean Too Wide first. I enjoyed revisiting the McAlister family and seeing where life has taken them.

Author Carrie Turansky’s book was well researched and I continued to learn more about the British Home Children yet in no way is it just dry facts. It breaks my heart to know what so many children went through yet it was interesting. I enjoy the way Turansky weaves history into her story. With strong characters who don’t let life defeat them, the search for those who were lost reminded me of God not giving up on those who have wandered.

If you enjoy historical fiction, this compelling story contains something for everyone. Strong family ties, mystery, hardship, faith, prejudism, and romance. I highly recommend it! 

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

Always a Wedding Planner by RL Ashley, Leann Betts, Toni Shiloh, Davlyn Spencer

Love Is Only Business for 4 Wedding Planners

Discover how keeping secrets from each other threatens four women’s friendships, wedding business, and own ability to find love in Loveland, Colorado.

Business partners Felicity Anderson, the cake baker; Kiki Bell, the seamstress; Cassie Blackthorn, the coordinator; and Chef Saffron Fare are best of friends in a town that is a romantic wedding destination for many couples—who work together at Weddings by Design to make every bride’s special day perfect. Could each falling into their own romance be the key to working out their differences and learning to trust each other—and God—with their futures?

This compilation of novellas is fun, warm, and a great summer read.

Each story has strong characters who are overcoming obstacles that life throws at them. Friends with warm relationships who support each other make these stories heartwarming. I loved the sense of community in each one of these.

I enjoyed the concept of friends working together, each with their speciality. Of course we find romance in each story because what’s a wedding anthology without romance? I enjoyed a couple stories more than others but all in all it’s a really cute and I recommend it for those who enjoy contemporary romance.

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

Purchase here

The Amish Quilt Maker’s Unruly In-law by Jennifer Beckstrand

Moving to a new Amish settlement in small-town Colorado was a brave new start for independent-minded quiltmaker Esther Kiem. But helping her reckless relative will really put her special matchmaking skills to the test . . .

Mischievous and rebellious, young Ben Kiem is making the wrong kind of name for himself throughout the town of Byler. And even though his sister-in-law, Esther, somehow coaxes him into keeping company with sensible Linda Eicher, Ben can’t see anything they have in common. Or that he could ever be good enough for someone like her. But Linda’s down-to-earth nature and unexpected understanding have Ben trying his best to be better, no matter how challenging . . .

Linda couldn’t be more surprised when Ben turns out to be caring and helpful, despite his rowdy pranks and bad-news friends. And falling in love with him suddenly seems just right. But when a heartbreaking misunderstanding comes between them, both she and Ben must risk enough to trust, stitch the pieces back together—and dare a forever precious happiness.

This is an Amish version of Good Girl Loves Bad Boy. But is Ben really bad? I have an opinion but you’ll need to read it yourself to find out.

Author Jennifer Beckstrand is really good at writing strong, likeable characters who are quirky. Ben is quirky. Linda is quirky. Their English driver, Cathy, is really quirky. This book contains a lot of humor as both main characters find their way to acceptance and love. Even the secondary characters search to find acceptance.

While this story made me laugh at times, I got really irritated with Ben. It was hard to remember that he was in his 20s when he acted like a 12 year old. I would have preferred to have him written a bit more maturely, even as he struggled to find his way. I think Beckstrand did him a disservice to write his character so childish. It made it difficult to accept him falling in love. But if you enjoy Amish fiction, give it a try. It’s a good story about accepting others.

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

A Lady in Attendance by Rachel Fordham

Five years in a New York state reformatory have left a blemish on Hazel’s real name. So when she takes a job as Doctor Gilbert Watts’s lady in attendance in 1898, she does so under an alias. In the presence of her quiet and pious employer, Hazel finds more than an income. She finds a friend and a hope that if she can set her tarnished past in order, she might have a future after all.

As Gilbert becomes accustomed to the pleasant chatter of his new dental assistant, he can’t help but sense something secretive about her. Perhaps there is more to this woman than meets the eye. Can the questions that loom between them ever be answered? Or will the deeds of days gone by forever rob the future of its possibilities?

Rachel Fordham pens a tender tale of a soft-spoken man, a hardened woman, and the friends that stand by them as they work toward a common purpose–to expunge the record of someone society deemed beyond saving–and perhaps find love along the way.

Such a gently written book, reminiscent of the author Grace Livingston Hill. The characters are well developed with human traits and human emotions. If you don’t fall in love with Gilbert then you don’t know what a real hero is.

The growth in the main characters was enjoyable to see, especially as they worked through forgiving those who wronged them. Hazel is determined and a bit sassy. Gilbert is quiet. Dealing with the pain of false accusations as well as extreme personality differences, they make a great team. I also enjoyed the secondary characters and their development. I’m hoping we see more of them, especially Ina and Duncan.

With mystery and intrigue, sweet romance, and a great plot I highly recommend this Christian historical romance.

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

Purchase here.

Bridge of Gold by Kimberely Woodhouse

Repairs on the Golden Gate Bridge Uncover a Century-Old Murder

Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

Underwater archaeologist Kayla Richardson is called to the Golden Gate Bridge where repairs to one of the towers uncovers two human remains from the late 1800s and the 1930s. The head of the bridge restoration is Steven Michaels, who dives with Kayla, and a friendship develops between them. But as the investigation heats up and gold is found that dates back to the gold rush, more complications come into play that threaten them both. Could clues leading to a Gold Rush era mystery that was first discovered during the building of the bridge still ignite an obsession worth killing for?

Author Kimberely Woodhouse did a great job with this split-time story. Her attention to detail, historic information, and strong characters make this a riveting story. Along the way I learned a lot about sunken ships and diving.

With mystery and intrigue throughout, Bridge of Gold definitely keeps the reader’s attention. The tie between past and present is so well written that you don’t feel bounced back and forth, but you feel the tension and the puzzle. Add a clean romance and there’s something for everyone. I highly recommend it!

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

Purchase here.

Once Upon a Summer by Toni Shiloh, Andrea Boyd, Teresa Tysinger, Jaycee Weaver

Embrace the enchantment of summer with these contemporary twists on timeless tales.

A New Beginning — Who is she? Acacia Martin raised by an impostor mom serving a prison sentence for her sins, or Jasmine Callahan abducted at birth from a family she’s yet to meet? Luckily, she has Drake to help her untangle the mess that is her life. Will he ensnare her he art in the process?

An Ever After Summer — The employees of In a Bind are terrified of Jean-Luc Thibodeaux, so Bellamy Larson hops on a plane to France to deal with the beastly client. Yet once she arrives, she’s convinced he merely needs a friend. Then her heart begins to want ever after, not just one summer.

Gwen and the Three Dates — Life isn’t a romantic movie, but Gwen Lochs is determined to find her leading man. When she joins a cheesy dating site, Gwen agrees to just three dates. Can Ben Smith watch his best friend and soulmate find someone else? A romantic comedy about searching for that just-right love.

Unkissable — Reality diva Charlotte Lavigne’s on-camera meltdown reminds former teen-TV prince Jaime Reyes exactly why he left Hollywood ten years ago. A chance encounter leads to a bargain that transforms them both. When it’s time to face her past, will their rediscovered love be strong enough to build a future together?

Let these four sweet contemporary Christian romances take you away this summer.

Oh what fun this set of novellas are! Twists on well known fairy tales, the authors have done a good job of keeping the familiar tone of each one, while placing the reader in a modern setting. I loved the imagination that was shown through the writing.

If you enjoy Christian contemporary romance, great summer reading, and anything by these authors, then Once Upon a Summer is perfect for you.

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

The Jam and Jelly Nook by Amy Clipston

In the final installment of Amy Clipston’s bestselling Amish Marketplace series, a young widow struggling to raise her son dreams of one more chance at love.

Since her husband died seven years ago, Leanna Wengerd has done her best—tending to her son, Chester, and running her Jam and Jelly Nook at the Amish market. Though she enjoys seeing her cousins and customers at the marketplace, she wishes she could find more time for her rebellious teenage boy.

When Chester gets into trouble for trespassing, he winds up at the police station with his friend Maggie, who was riding with him to a youth group gathering. Leanna comes to the police station to fetch Chester and happens to meet Emory, Maggie’s father. Emory is also a widower, raising Maggie alone—and both he and Leanna have similar burdens and problems.

Over time Emory and Leanna become closer friends, discovering how much they have in common. As single parents, they struggle with the limits of what they can provide for their children and feel somewhat responsible for what happened to their respective spouses. The two eventually realize they have feelings for each other—but when they try to date, their children resist. Will God pave a way for them to build a family together, or will hurdles block the path to a second chance at happiness?

I have really enjoyed author Amy Clipston’s Amish Marketplace series, and highly recommend it if you enjoy Amish fiction. You can read this as a standalone but I think it will be a better read if you read the other books first. The main characters weave in and out of all of them, which I really liked.

In this final book of the series, we see Emory and Leanna becoming friends as they have single parenting in common. They have been written as strong characters who face life’s challenges through faith in God. This is done in a very organic way, nothing preachy. Give it a read. You’ll be glad you did.

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

Purchase here.

Summertime Lilies by LM Karen

A sweet and sentimental contemporary Christian romance with a uniquely witty voice. 

There are three things you should know about Brittany Masters: 

1. She’s a single mom and a nurse manager at the local cancer clinic 

2. She has big plans for a quiet summer 

3. She’s convinced that fudge pops are the answer to almost all of life’s most important questions 

A new neighbor, Matt, making friends with her son while simultaneously pursuing a relationship with her blows plans for a predictable summer right out of the water. A chance meeting at the cancer clinic where she works renews a connection with an old friend and gives her the perspective she’s been missing. From quiet nights on her front porch swing in Matt’s company to long talks in the clinic with her old/new friend, Brittany’s summer is anything but routine.

Let me start with the not so positive aspects of this book so we can move on. I really struggled with Brittany’s inner dialogue about her hot neighbor, with and without a shirt. I get this is a romance but in the beginning of this book it was way too much. HOWEVER I hung in there and I’m glad I did. I read the book in one day because after that it kept my attention. 

This isn’t simply a feel good story. Author LM Karen writes a true to life storyline where everything isn’t all lollipops and rainbows. Brittany had dealt with pain in her life and continues to. But the situations are written with grace and truth. Karen doesn’t skirt around the challenges but faces them head on.

I enjoyed the humor. In fact, that was my favorite part. Matt had some crazy one liners that caused me to laugh out loud. And what a great guy. Caring for the neighbors who need someone, this character was well developed and so likeable. And what an adorable little boy! His character rounds out the story well.

Summertime Lilies is contemporary Christian fiction but the only Christian aspect is praying before meals and attending church. I would have liked to see a bit more. However it is still a good book and if you enjoy contemporary fiction then please do give it a read. I did enjoy the author’s unique, sometimes quirky, writing style, and for her first book she did well. I’m looking forward to book 2 in the series.

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

When You Believe by Belle Calhoune

PREQUEL: How Maggie and Alec Donahue met and fell in love.

Maggie Kilcannon is living with relatives in Breeze Point, Cape Cod after leaving her native land of Ireland. Having tragically lost her parents in a plane crash, Maggie is weary about loving anyone, lest she emerge broken-hearted once again. When she meets handsome Alec Donahue, a soldier on leave, she falls head over heels in love with him. But can she learn to live with the uncertainty of losing him in the line of duty?

Alec Donahue has always wanted to proudly serve his country as a soldier for the United States of America. He’s kept his eyes on the prize until he meets the beautiful and spirited Maggie while on leave. Maggie doesn’t believe in loving someone who might leave her, even though Alec wants to offer her a lifetime as her soul mate. Can Alec make Maggie believe in happily ever after?

A sweet story, I read it in a day because it kept me interested. As a prequel to the Seven Brides Seven Brothers series, it has piqued my interest so it’s on to the first book in the series.

This story lays the groundwork for the Donahue family. It was interesting to see how Maggie and Alec met, how they worked through their struggles, and how they dreamed together for the future.

The characters were well developed and enjoyable. The family dynamics were heartwarming, the romance clean. I look forward to more of this family.

The Silver Shadow (True Colors Book 11) by Liz Tolsma

Fiction Based on Strange, But True, History

True, riveting stories of American criminal activity are explored through a unique stories of historical romantic suspense. Collect them all and be inspired by the hope that always finds its way even in the darkest of times.

Denver of 1900 is still a dangerous place to be following the silver crash of 1893. And of out of the dark comes a shadow intent on harming women. Ambitious young Denver newspaper reporter Polly Blythe is searching for the big story that’s going to launch her career. On Friday evening, August 24, 1900, she gets her break when two women are cracked over the head within a two-minute walk of each other. But policeman Edwin Timmer thwarts Polly’s ideas of a serial criminal. . .until the shadowy figure strikes again. Will the reporter and the policeman team up to find the culprit before he strikes too close for comfort?

Author Liz Tolsma has written another compelling true crime story. (Although it’s number 11 in the series, they are all standalones.) Based on a true crime that happened in 1900, this one was a bit easier for me to read. Although there were many moments of suspense, it wasn’t as gruesome as some others in the series.

Strong characters, both Polly and Edwin were determined in their own ways. I really liked both of them. Tolsma wrote them in such a way that they were life-like as they faced life’s challenges. I found myself often wondering how I would have handled things. The secondary characters were also well written and likeable. Well, a couple of them were foolish but that you have to have characters like that so you have a true representation of life.

Tolsma had so little history to go on that I believe she did a really good job with this “could have been” story. And a clean romance thrown into the mix added good tension to the story. I recommend it!

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

At Lighthouse Point by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Blaine Grayson returns to Three Sisters Island with a grand plan–to take Camp Kicking Moose to the next level. Her dream starts to unravel when she discovers Moose Manor’s kitchen has been badly remodeled by her sister, Cam, who doesn’t know how to cook. Added to that blow is the cold shoulder given by her best friend, Artie Lotosky, now a doctor to the unbridged Maine islands.

As old wounds are opened, Blaine starts to wonder if she made a mistake by coming home. Little by little, she must let go of one dream to discover a new one, opening her heart to a purpose and a future she had never imagined. 

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to the coast of Maine for a story that reminds you to release what doesn’t matter and cling to what does: faith, family, and friendships.

Book three in the Three Sisters Island series, I loved this story. It’s a page turner. So much fun to return to the island and see what’s going on with the Grayson family and Camp Kicking Moose.

While there are many characters in the story, it’s easy to follow each one. I love the characters and the way that the author builds their personalities. They have depth and a realness that makes it enjoyable to read.

So many different life events are happening, along with the emotions but always with hope and love. If you enjoy contemporary Christian fiction I recommend the entire series.

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

Purchase here

The Elnora Monet by Rachel Skatvold

Islanders call him the Elnora Monet.

Is that island speak for “pompous, arrogant jerk?”

When Carly Mulligan volunteered to make house calls on Elnora, she never imagined treating the richest cat on the islands. What other feline has his own wing in a mansion like the Belshaw Estate?

After a wrong turn in the mansion, Carly stumbles across a secret room—one filled with incredible paintings. Perhaps there’s something more to the man than she first thought.

Most people envy Jean-Luc Belshaw’s position. The heir to a lucrative business and family fortune, he should have everything he could dream of.

But Luc dreams of days past. Days when he traveled the world with his wife and painted the breathings of his soul disappeared with Angeline’s passing. Faith and inspiration gone, he wonders if returning to France to take his place in his father’s business is the right thing to do.

Carly has a few relational demons of her own, and she’s reluctant to trust him, but Luc’s paintings draw her in even as his story touches a long-empty place in her heart.

Only God can transform two broken pasts into a work of art.

The Elnora Monet continues the Elnora Island romances of the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting with this story, but I really enjoyed it. Author Rachel Skatvold did a good job with this trope of rich guy meets poor working girl. It wasn’t your typical tale, as a female veterinarian meets a poor rich cat that needs some attention. Of course there’s more to it than that but I won’t give it away.

Fun, quirky, bored, melancholy, the main characters run the gamut of emotions on their search toward happiness. A sweet story, if you enjoy contemporary romance I recommend it!

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

Avoiding Marriage by Karin Beery

Two years ago, Jessica Miller made a mess of her already confusing life. Now, she’s back in Boyne Heights, and she’s determined to fix her reputation. She can’t seem to avoid the past that haunts her, but that’s the joy of small-town life—word spreads and people remember. Intent on her mission, however, she faces her past head-on, taking a job with her ex-boyfriend while avoiding her grandmother’s attempts to find her a new one.

I really enjoyed this book! Author Karin Beery writes a story that may seem a bit far fetched at first but it works. Jessica wants to start over. Ashley knows how to help her with that. But Ashley is the wife and Jessica the ex-girlfriend. I love Ashley’s practical and caring side, Jess’s spunk, and “the husband’s” confusion. Throw in a meddling granny and you have a lot of fun.

While Avoiding Marriage is light hearted there is depth to it as some of the characters struggle with life issues. It’s not depressing at all, just has true to life situations..

A quick read, I highly recommend it if you enjoy contemporary novels with light romance. I would recommend reading Practically Married first. It’s also a really good book and introduces us to many of the characters in Avoiding Marriage.

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

A Second Chance for Grace by Karen Malley

A new life coming into the world disrupts Susan’s quiet life

Susan Montgomery is used to a quiet, peaceful life managing her apartment building, where the hardest problem is her grouchy neighbor’s leaky faucet. She soon finds herself dealing with a pregnant teenage niece, a mysterious briefcase left behind by a tenant, and two very different men vying for her heart.

A near-death experience gives Mac a new outlook on life

Christopher “Mac” MacAllister is trying to figure out how to “do the Christian thing.” As a new convert, he’s drawn to Susan’s love for life and for God. She’s nothing like the women he used to date; but can Mac compete with the guy who’s come out of nowhere and knows all the right things to say?

Author Karen Malley writes a story with well developed, true to life characters. From the steadfast Christian, to the new Christian trying to learn how to walk his new walk, you’ll be intrigued by them all. I enjoyed the way each of them grew in their faith, even while dealing with issues.

Life is messy and Malley portrays that in a way that shows hope. Everything is not rainbows and lollipops, but through it all God is faithful. Please don’t think this is a heavy book. While there are challenges to deal with, there is also humor and love. If you enjoy contemporary stories then I recommend it.

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

Lassoed by the Lawman by Renae Brumbaugh

Juliana Duke has always dreamed of owning a dress shop.

But as the only child of Oscar and Maria Duke and heiress of the vast Duke Ranch, her job is to marry a rancher and produce a male heir. When Lt. Cody Steves rides onto the scene, her resolve to place duty over daydreams is shaken. Now that her heart’s been lassoed by the handsome lawman, will she be able to love another?

Cody Steves wants marriage and family, but he loves being a Texas Ranger. At any time, he could ride into a job and not come out alive. How could any decent man marry, knowing he could leave a widow and orphans behind? But the beautiful Juliana Duke captures him in a way no other has. When this job is over, can he ride away with his heart intact?

When he learns of a secret plot to take over the Duke Ranch, Cody must risk everything to save Juliana. Little does he know, the outcome will be nothing like he’s planned or imagined.

Do you enjoy westerns and/or historical fiction? Then I recommend grabbing a copy of Lassoed by the Lawman. Author Renae Brumbaugh did a great job of placing the reader in the old west, where women dreamed of many things, and that didn’t always include a Texas Ranger.

Strong characters with caring hearts, both Juliana and Cody were wonderfully written. Cody makes an excellent hero, by the way. Ups and downs, lots of emotions, intrigue, along with a sweet romance gives this story something for everyone. I was really surprised as to who the bad guy was! I wonder if you’ll be able to figure it out?

The scripture verses included made this a decidedly a work of Christian fiction but it was not preachy at all. Wholesome with a Christian thread, Lassoed by the Lawman is definitely worth the read.

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

Falling for the Fifties by Stephenia McGee

What would you do if you finally found Mr. Right…in the wrong time?

Maddie Palmer is done with dating. Internet matchmaking landed her one dud after another. Tired, frustrated, and finished with love, Maddie stays the night at a quirky Victorian bed and breakfast on the eve of her grandparents’ sixty-fifth wedding anniversary. When she suddenly wakes up in 1956, she gets the unexpected chance to witness her grandparents’ fairy tale love unfold and finally learn the secret to finding “the one.” But what is she going to do when she meets her own Mr. Right—only to discover he’s Mr. Wrong Time?

Nathanial Hall is set on one mission. Pass his training exam and join the Hurricane Hunters at Keesler Air Force Base. When he mysteriously finds himself on base sixty-five years too early, there can only be one explanation. He has to save the crew destined to die in Hurricane Flossy. But when a beautiful singer snags his heart and derails his carefully planned life, he has to decide if staying in the past is worth risking his entire future.

♥ The Back Inn Time series short novels are fun, faith-filled stories of what it might be like to suddenly experience life in a different time. These clean historical romances are packed with humor and adventure. Perfect for fans of dual timeline or time slip stories and Christian historical romance, these books answer the question every historical fiction fan wonders—what would it be like if I went back to that time? If you enjoy the wholesomeness of Amish, Western, or frontier fiction and adore romantic comedies, then a visit to a seaside Victorian inn where you can “step back inn time and leave your troubles behind!” is for you.

Goodness, what a fun story! I love how author Stephenia McGee weaves history into a “what if” tale.

A time travel plot that is well told and well researched, Falling for the Fifties has great characters that you will fall in love with. Nate and Maddie learn to trust God with their lives when they find themselves transported to the past. They are both caring individuals who want what’s best. And Maddie’s grandparents are so sweet. You’ll enjoy the secondary characters as well.

This story will make you smile, you may cry, you’ll feel it all and love every minute of it. If you enjoy time slips, Christian historical romance, and good clean romance, then you have to read Falling for the Fifties.

I listened to the audio of this book and loved it. The narrator did a great job of voices, highs and lows, volume, suspense, excitement, it was all there!

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

Hooked on You by Kathleen Fuller

She never wanted to come back. He never wants to leave. The town of Maple Falls has plans for them both.

Riley McAllister is living the dream in New York City . . . if the dream means being a struggling mixed-media artist, part-time food delivery driver, and having a carefully curated social media to hide all of the above. She refuses to admit defeat and move back to small-town Maple Falls, but when her grandmother breaks her leg sliding into third base during a softball game (she was safe, by the way), Riley reluctantly agrees to go home and help the woman who raised her—while secretly hoping she can convince Mimi to sell her house and yarn shop and move in with a good friend. Then Riley can return to her new life in NYC, on her own and for good.

But Mimi has her own plans, which include setting Riley up with local baseball star Hayden Price, who returned to Maple Falls after an injury ended his major league career. Now he works at his father’s hardware store, coaches the church softball team, and worries about the declining town. It’s not the life he dreamed of having.

With a little meddling and a lot of kindness from the town, Hayden and Riley find themselves unexpectedly falling for each other as they discover the true meaning of home. 

Welcome to Maple Falls, where everyone knows your name and your business. 

Book 1 in the Maple Falls Romance series, I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to Book 2. Hooked on You is not only heartwarming, but it’s a story of family and forgiveness. Of moving forward even when life throws you a curve or two.

Strong lovable characters, Riley and Hayden learn a lot about life and each other. And Mimi is so much fun and even mischievous. But she loves Riley dearly and only wants the best for her.

The setting of Maple Falls made me nostalgic and I could imagine wandering main street, looking in the shop windows. If you enjoy contemporary stories, then grab a copy and go window shopping with me. You’ll be glad you did.

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

Purchase here

Mail Order Kaitlyn; Secret Baby Dilemma by Elaine Manders

Kaitlyn Ashton is leaving on the morning train to become the mail order bride of Russ Kensley, a North Dakota farmer, when a friend from the past arrives, begging her to take her illegitimate eight-month-old baby boy and give him a normal life. Fearing for the child’s safety, Kaitlyn agrees, though she doesn’t have time to notify Russ.

When she arrives with the baby, Russ is surprised but welcomes them both. Then on a trip to buy provisions, Kaitlyn discovers the real reason her friend had to give up the baby, and when the terrible secret is revealed, she’ll lose both Russ and the baby—and possibly her life.

Sweet and heartwarming with adorable children, Mail Order Kaitlyn has some wonderful characters. Both Kaitlyn and Russ have a faith in God that helps them to trust even in difficult situations. This was well written and not preachy; very organic. 

A quick to read story, it had many twists and turns, keeping my attention to see what would happen and how things would resolve. Author Elaine Manders did a good job considering this is a novella and has to be wrapped up quickly.

If you enjoy Christian historical fiction with a faith message and a clean romance, then I recommend this book.

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

Home Sweet Irish Home by Michele Brouder

Maggie might almost think Jake was perfect, except that he wants to tear down her home to build a golf course.

Maggie Moran is an 8th generation Moran to live in the cottage by the sea. She arrived as a teenager from Dublin to live with her grandparents and since then, has carved out a perfect life for herself. The sentimental attachment to her home is strong and she vows that she will not sell. Easier said than done, when the pressure is put on by the handsome and charismatic businessman from the States.

Jake Ballard is in Ireland for the summer to get his golf course and resort off the ground in the scenic County Clare cliffside town. He planned to stay only three months in the Emerald Isle, but his undeniable attraction to the feisty Maggie has him wondering if he truly wants to leave—or destroy everything she loves.

All is fair in love and war, but can Jake and Maggie possibly figure out a way to mix business with pleasure and have what they both really want?

Each book in the Escape to Ireland series is a standalone novel and therefore can be read in any order.

This is the final book in the Escape to Ireland series, but it is a standalone. I haven’t read the others and had no trouble following the story.

Strong main characters who care about family and friends, they are well developed and likeable. I found Maggie to be a dreamer who is attached to the past, and Jake wants to move into the future. Yet both have warm, loving hearts and try to do what they believe is best. The secondary characters were really good too. I’m sure I’d love a visit to the village to meet them.

I really enjoyed the descriptions of the village and the surrounding countryside. Very well written, I could see it in my mind. I could hear the surf hitting the cliffs. I could smell the scents in the health food store. It was a wonderful trip to Ireland without leaving home.

The story line was maybe a bit predictable, yet there were a few surprises in it as well so don’t think you have it all figured out. I found myself totally absorbed the further into the book I got. In fact, I read it in one day because I didn’t want to put it down. If you enjoy contemporary clean romance then I can recommend Home Sweet Irish Home.

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

The Lady’s Refuge by Naomi Rawlings

Can two people in need of hope find it in the darkest of times?

Isabelle La Rouchecauld wants nothing more than to be safe. A revolution has torn her country apart, costing her not just her home, but also her family. Giving up on the hope she can ever be safe in her beloved France, she resolves to travel to England, but her aristocratic upbringing makes the journey dangerous. When soldiers discover her in the woods near the English Channel, she has little chance of survival.

Michel Belanger has every reason to hate aristocrats. They flaunted money and threw extravagant balls while people across France suffered and starved. But when he discovers an aristocratic woman left for dead in the woods, he finds himself torn. With the French Revolution raging, harboring someone from the aristocracy means danger for both himself and his ailing mother. But his conscience won’t let him leave the woman behind.

As Isabelle heals from her attack, she and Michel discover that though they come from clashing worlds, their differences are no match for the feelings growing between them. But the violence of the revolution lurks even in the scenic countryside, and soon Isabelle and Michel will need to decide how much they mean to each other, and how much they are willing to sacrifice for a future together…

An unforgettable story of redemption, faith, and the powerful strength of God’s love.

Author Naomi Rawlings book, The Lady’s Refuge, was originally published under the title Sanctuary for a Lady. Book one in the Belanger Family Saga series, I highly recommend it if you enjoy Christian historical fiction based during the French Revolution.

The characters in this story are strong and well developed, with both good and bad guys which a good story needs. This story isn’t a walk in the park as it shows the ugliness of this revolution, but we also see the beautiful side as forgiveness happens through faith in God. And Rawlings does a fantastic job of describing things; battles, smoldering glances, rain, etc. You can feel it all.

Anger and hatred, fear and mystery, along with romance, there is something for everyone. I’m looking forward to book 2, The Widow’s Secret.

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

A Heart’s Forgiveness by Lena Nelson Dooley

Accepting an ad for a mail-order bride was supposed to solve her problems.

It’s 1890, and Golden, New Mexico is a booming mining town where men far outnumber women. So when a wealthy miner named Philip Smith finds himself in need of a nursemaid, he places an ad for a mail-order bride—despite the protests of his friend Jeremiah.

Hoping to escape a perilous situation back East, young Madeleine Mercer answers the ad and arrives in town under a cloud of suspicion. But just as she begins to win over Philip—and Jeremiah himself—the secrets she left behind threaten to follow her to Golden . . . and tarnish her character beyond redemption.

Book two in the Love’s Road Home series, A Heart’s Forgiveness can be read as a stand alone. I haven’t read book one and had no trouble following the story.

Author Lena Nelson Dooley has written a mail-order bride story with a twist, and it had me chuckling. Elderly miner Philip Smith wants a bride. Or does he? Jeremiah doesn’t want a bride. Or does he?

The characters in this story are well developed and most of them are very likeable. There always has to be a villain in a good western, and this story is no different. You won’t like this one at all, but  Dooley does a really good job with surprises. She also writes vivid descriptions of the countryside, the town, and riding on the train. I’m thankful for my car!

Throughout the book is the thread of trusting God, even when life doesn’t go the way you expected it to. Not written in a preachy way, Dooley gives us plenty of scripture and examples of Godly lives. 

If you enjoy heartwarming stories set in the 1800s with well thought out plot lines then I highly recommend A Heart’s Forgiveness.

An Amish Barn Raising by Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin, Kathleen Fuller

From bestselling authors in the Amish genre come three sweet stories centered around Amish traditions and the possibility of romance. 

Building a Dream by Amy Clipston

Though they’ve known each other a long time, Kathryn and Anthony have finally decided to try becoming more than friends—but they are devastated when Kathryn’s father won’t allow them to date. He wants his daughter to marry a man with a more respectable job than building gazebos for Englishers. But when Kathryn’s father’s dairy barn burns down during a thunderstorm, Anthony is the one to arrange a barn raising. Will Kathryn’s father realize he has misjudged Anthony?

To Raise a Home by Kelly Irvin

A year after the wildfires, life has returned to normal for the West Kootenai Amish community. Evan Eicher, son of Deacon Tobias Eicher, has done his best to move on too. Helping his neighbors and friends rebuild has helped soothe a heart broken when Delilah Mast—the woman he loves but never had the courage to approach—moved with her family back to Kansas. At his father’s urging he courts Anna Burkholder, a sweet woman who adores him. But when Delilah moves back to teach school, Evan must wrestle with feelings he’s tried so hard to put in the past. And an accident at a barn raising will force Anna, Delilah, and Evan to face the truth about their hearts.

Love’s Solid Foundation by Kathleen Fuller

Devon Bontrager only returned to his old hometown to make good on a past misdeed. He hadn’t counted on reconnecting with Nettie Yoder, especially since she strung along his younger twin brothers some years ago. Nettie knows she’s made some mistakes in the past, but she’s determined to be an asset to her community from now on. But just as she’s making headway, her family’s barn burns to the ground. Why does it seem like God is punishing her family when she’s finally starting to turn her life around? Can she convince Devon that she has changed? Can Devon trust the woman who broke his brothers’ hearts? 

Three of the best in Amish fiction have written novellas that were so good. All are stand alone so just jump in! And if you’re part of a book club there are discussion questions at the end of each one.

Each are well written, charming, and fun to read. With well developed characters who grow and learn that God loves them, the life lessons were written in such a way that they were not preachy at all. And I loved that we were able to revisit with characters from other stories the authors have written. And of course as you can tell by the title, each story involves a barn raising.

If you enjoy Amish fiction that is full of barn raisings, buggy rides, and romance, then I recommend this one! 

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

Stage Fright by Kate Lloyd

Jessica Nash loves to sing but is paralyzed every time she gets on stage. After blowing an excruciating audition, she wonders if she should give up on her dream. She’s already committed to a week-long choral tour of England with her church choir, though, and as a single mom with a limited income, this might be her only chance to travel. The trip gets off to a rocky start when Jessica has to sit next to Martin, a once-famous British tenor whose career plummeted in a scandal, on the flight to London. Is it her imagination, or does he seem to aim his bitterness toward womankind specifically at her? And to make things worse, once they arrive Jessica discovers she has to room with the choir’s thorny lead soprano.

When Nick, their handsome tour guide, takes a special interest in showing Jessica the sights, things finally seem to be falling into place. She starts to relax and let herself be wooed against the backdrop of the charming English countryside. But is she ready to give him as much as he’s asking for?Things aren’t as simple as they seem. Almost every person on the tour, it seems, is hiding a secret, and before her English holiday is over Jessica will find herself stretched and tested in every direction—including the soloist’s place center stage.

“Stage Fright is a captivating novel sure to win the hearts of readers.” – New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hauck

Author Kate Lloyd is well known for her Amish books, but shows here that she is not limited to that genre.

Most of us have suffered stage fright at some point in life, whether in school or professionally. And often it can affect our dreams for ourselves. Lloyd shows us how that feels from the viewpoint of character Jessica Nash. Well written, I could feel the claminess and the mind that goes blank. 

I enjoyed the trip I was able to take to England, through reading this book. The growth in the main characters was delightful. There was even a touch of mystery! If you enjoy contemporary stories with clean romance then you’ll want to grab a copy of this.

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

From Rome With Love by Kate Lloyd

“Christmas in Rome is always a good idea.” – Rayanne Thayne, New York Times bestselling author

Lucy Goff’s new job caring for the quirky daughter of a wealthy Seattle couple comes with an unexpected perk: being whisked off to Rome the week before Christmas. Putting up with fifteen-year-old Tabatha’s mood swings, not to mention Lucy’s own fear of flying, is worth the opportunity to explore The Eternal City.

But Lucy’s dreams of a relaxing European vacation are upended almost as soon as they arrive. Tabatha’s parents disappear, and Tabatha herself turns out to be more than a handful. The only person Lucy can turn to is Mario, the smooth and handsome Italian who volunteers to be their personal tour guide. Can she trust him? And what about Brad, the old boyfriend who wants to pick up where they left off?

When a mysterious painting opens up painful family secrets, it seems as though Lucy’s romantic holiday is over for good. Instead, she must confront not only her employers, but also her own feelings about love and loyalty.

Is she ready to see that Christmas is just the beginning?

I believe this is the first contemporary novel by author Kate Lloyd that I’ve read. I typically read her Amish novels. Let me say I read From Rome With Love in one sitting.

It was a great Christmas adventure, full of mystery and intrigue so not your typical Christmas story. I enjoyed the descriptions of Rome at Christmas; they were very well done and I could picture it easily. The characters were really interesting; from a troubled teen to a dark, handsome stranger, you never knew what was going to happen next. Ms. Lloyd handled the subject of bi-polarism very carefully and I appreciated that.

A couple of things puzzled me and the romance was pretty fast, but all in all, if you enjoy contemporary romance then I recommend this one.

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

His Accidental Amish Family by Rachel Good

In the picturesque Amish community of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, life’s detours may prove the path to true happiness . . .

After a buggy accident when she was a teenager, Anna Flaud was told she would never walk again. Unwilling to be an object of pity, she put aside her dreams of marriage and found purpose as an assistant at a Community Care Center. Now she has a chance to fulfill her dearest wish—motherhood—and adopt three siblings with special needs. Yet the opportunity comes with a condition Anna isn’t sure she can meet: finding a husband.

Levi King began working at the center as penance after a careless mistake led to tragedy. Though he’s dealing with his own heartbreak, he’s drawn to Anna, cheering her on as she strives to regain her mobility. Her quiet determination, her generous heart—these are qualities to cherish in a wife. Still, Anna’s plans give him pause. Given his past, Levi hardly trusts himself to care for one child, let alone three. Yet together, perhaps they could forge a family made sturdier by all they’ve overcome . . 

I always enjoy a story by author Rachel Good. Along with it being wholesome and heartwarming she always teaches something. This book is no different. Third book in the Unexpected Amish Blessings series, you could read it as a standalone.

Anna and Levi are both kind hearted individuals who have lived through some extreme trials. We see them struggle to overcome, while helping others. Such good examples to their families.

Good takes on several topics here. Anna’s physical and emotional needs, Levi’s emotional issues, foster parenting, adoption, and immigration. I felt like this was a bit much for one story and there was always a crisis happening. But it was well written and I can recommend it if you enjoy Amish fiction.

Hope Between the Pages by Pepper Basham

Uncover the Story Behind a One-Hundred-Year-Old Love Letter

Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

Clara Blackwell helps her mother manage a struggling one-hundred-year old family bookshop in Asheville, North Carolina, but the discovery of a forgotten letter opens a mystery of a long-lost romance and undiscovered inheritance which could save its future. Forced to step outside of her predictable world, Clara embarks on an adventure with only the name Oliver as a hint of the man’s identity in her great-great-grandmother’s letter. From the nearby grand estate of the Vanderbilts, to a hamlet in Derbyshire, England, Clara seeks to uncover truth about family and love that may lead to her own unexpected romance.

Author Pepper Basham, well known for her Christian romance novels, shows us that she is also quite capable of writing historical fiction with this dual-time novel. Basham takes us to the library on the Biltmore Estate, where mystery and romance unfold. I’ve never been there in person, but through her descriptions I can picture it in my mind. I can smell the books. I can feel the exhilaration the library gives to those who enter. Because after all, all the best stories have happy endings.

While trying to save a family bookshop, two love stories come to light with characters who are not only charming, but completely likeable. Basham’s unique writing style, with wit and warmth, makes this tale of intrigue, struggles, and adventures a tale for all book lovers. I highly recommend it.

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

Purchase here

Your Home in Heaven by Donna Wyland

Children will delight in God’s promise of heaven where Jesus builds their forever home in this colorful book that reminds them of his great love. Your Home in Heaven …

•Teaches about God’s promise of heaven.

•Comforts through the truth of eternal life in heaven with Jesus.

•Encourages godly living as children learn the fruit of the Spirit.

•Draws children closer to God through eight Discussion Page questions.

•Inspires children’s creativity as they imagine their own home in heaven.

Author Donna Wyland’s book about heaven and the fruit of the Spirit includes wonderfully bright and fun illustrations that will draw the eye of any child. I like putting tools into parents’ hands, especially when the subject can be challenging because inevitably if you talk about heaven you’re going to talk about death. This book shows that heaven will be a wonderful place to go to some day.

Containing discussion pages that will make the subject of heaven easier to talk about, I’m not sure this is a book that is compatible with the age range given. There seems to be a lot of text and information for a four year old, but would be fine for the upper range of eight years. Still, I recommend it if you’re looking for something to help explain heaven to your child.

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

The Heart Knows the Way Home by Christy Distler

Sometimes home isn’t a place, but a people.

As children, Janna Carpenter and Luke Martin lived on opposite sides of Division Highway, and that wasn’t the only division in their lives. While he grew up in the gmay—Lancaster County’s Old Order Mennonite community—she was the daughter of a single mother who left her in the care of Luke’s grandmother. For six years Janna found love with the Martins, until her mother abruptly moved them away.

Now, almost fourteen years later, Janna returns to the area with her daughter. Her hope for a new beginning is lost when they find their home uninhabitable after a storm, then an out-of-gas car leaves them stranded. When two women stop to help, they turn out to be Luke’s aunts, and the Martin family again takes her in.

Janna and Luke, a widower struggling to balance business and family responsibilities, reacquaint as Janna assists his grandmother and cares for his son. Her self-protective independence and his conservative principles put them at odds, but the difficulties they face draw them closer.

When long-lost friendship rekindles into unexpected love, will either be willing to make changes so they can be together?

A portion of the proceeds from each sale will be donated to the Clinic for Special Children in Strasburg, Pennsylvania.

This is my first book by author Christy Distler, and I found it very interesting how she intertwined the lives of Old Order Amish and Mennonite. While they may not agree on many things, they did show their love and respect for each other. Distler spends some time on head coverings, and while I don’t agree they’re necessary I can respect the decision. One reviewer felt that head coverings were pushed as necessary to a Christian woman, but I disagree with that completely. It was written in such a way that it was the character’s personal choice after much prayer.

Both Janna and Luke were strong characters with challenges to work through, as we all do. We see them grow and become honest with each other, of course leading to a sweet romance. Throw in two of the cutest kids ever and you have a great story!

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

Forever Home by Amy Grochowski

A Canadian Amish farmer

A Lancaster Amish businesswoman

A Prince Edward Island foster child

Providence brings together a mismatched family, giving all three a second chance for love. Only love may never have had such a tough job.

Lydia Miller is an anomaly among her Amish people-a single woman in her thirties, running her own store, determined to forge a life on her own. But when Joel Yoder comes into town to sell his property, Lydia suddenly finds all of her hopes and dreams crumbling around her and a new opportunity placed in her lap.

Joel has his own problems. Recently jilted by his fiancée, Joel has seen his own dreams of moving to a newly-established Amish community begin to falter. The new community welcomes married couples only. With his dreams quickly slipping from his fingers, Joel suddenly sees the only option he thinks he has—a marriage of convenience for both of them.

As the new couple begins life in a new settlement, they are even more surprised when a foster child in need of a home finds her way to them. Yet what will happen when the English world and the Amish world collide?

I purchased this book on a whim, after seeing chatter about it on social media. And I’m so glad that I did! Author Amy Grochowski takes us to Prince Edward Island, where I had never imagined there is an Amish community. While her town is fictional, it’s a lovely setting that teaches some things about the Amish who live there.

As we see, secrets are never good for a relationship and our main characters will learn that the hard way. As they begin to trust each other romance blooms in a sweet way. Their struggles and growth are very real.

I enjoyed the storyline of a child with autism having value; being worth the time invested in her. Grochowski shows a deep love between this beautiful foster child and her foster parents. And that is another really good plot; foster care. It’s written about very well with all the emotions and sacrifices that are dealt with in these situations.

A very good book, I’m looking forward to book two in the series.

Samuel’s Return by Susan Lantz Simpson

The first scent of blooming flowers, fresh green fields, and invigorating days of sunshine. A Southern Maryland Amish spring bursts with hope, bright promise—and a practical young widow’s chance to try love anew . . .

With two lively daughters, an active newborn, and a huge farm to tend, Lena Troyer has no time for impossible what-ifs. She just can’t let herself be distracted by Samuel Mast’s unexpected return. Even though her childhood sweetheart became the man she longed to marry, Samuel never saw or wrote Lena again after his family abruptly moved away. Now a widow, Lena is determined to keep Samuel’s helpful ways and irresistible good humor at arm’s length—no matter how often he’s there when she needs him most . . .

A restless father with a shameful secret was the reason Samuel’s many letters never got to Lena. And it’s why Samuel can’t bring himself to tell Lena the truth—though he’s doing everything he can to regain her trust and prove he’s worthy of the resourceful woman she’s become. But as a rival for his affections complicates matters, Samuel and Lena must somehow put the past to rest—and believe that faith, honesty, and rekindled love will be more than enough to finally build a family together . . .

First, let me say that although this is book six in The Amish of Southern Maryland series, you can read it as a standalone. I haven’t read the other five books and had no trouble following what was happening. I do plan on going back and reading the rest simply because I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

We often think of the Amish communities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana so I really enjoyed reading about the Amish in Maryland. Author Susan Lantz Simpson did a good job of putting the reader right in the community, describing the countryside and the people.

A story of ups and downs, love lost and found, shame and forgiveness, the thread of hope was woven throughout. Put three adorable children into the story and it becomes extra heartwarming. My only complaint was how it wrapped up; we never learned how the rival reacted. I would have liked that loophole to be closed. But that was a minor detail given that the story itself was very enjoyable and I highly recommend it.

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

A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy

Calcutta, 1886.

Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women.

When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett Scott, friend to Ottilie’s English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home.

But betrayal and loss lurk in England, too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn’t forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in this foreign land.

I fell in love with author Kim Duffy’s freshman book, A Mosaic of Wings. And while her sophomore offering didn’t grab me as much I still enjoyed it and would recommend it if you enjoy historical fiction and learning about countries and cultures other than your own. I found it to be rich in the Indian culture, and I learned a lot. I especially enjoyed learning about beetle-wing embroidery. I would love to see a piece of that.

The story is laced with loss, prejudism, and courage. Ottilie is a determined, strong young woman to whom family is everything. This is wholly her story, with a bit of Everett mixed in; I would have liked to see more from his viewpoint. 

Through it all is the reminder that God loves us as we are. That He is always there for us, and comforts us as only Father can. 

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

Purchase here

The Purple Nightgown by A.D. Lawrence

Step into True Colors — a series of Historical Stories of Romance and True American Crime

Marvel at true but forgotten history when patients check into Linda Hazzard’s Washington state spa in 1912 and soon become victim of her twisted greed.

Heiress Stella Burke is plagued by insincere suitors and nonstop headaches. Exhausting all other medical aides for her migraines, Stella reads Fasting for the Cure of Disease by Linda Hazzard and determines to go to the spa the author runs. Stella’s chauffer and long-time friend, Henry Clayton, is reluctant to leave her at the spa. Something doesn’t feel right to him, still Stella submits herself into Linda Hazzard’s care. Stella soon learns the spa has a dark side and Linda a mean streak. But when Stella has had enough, all ways to leave are suddenly blocked. Will Stella become a walking skeleton like many of the other patients or succumb to a worse fate?

Oh my, this is a shivery book! I read it quickly partly because I was intrigued, and partly because I needed to get through the scary parts. Ha!

Author A.D. Lawrence does a really good job with her debut novel. She understands the pacing needed in a storyline. She would have me on edge, and then let me calm down. Briefly. The suspense in this story was at times dark, but this isn’t a “fun” story. I’m sure that she could have gone into deeper detail but didn’t, which I appreciated.

Lawrence writes a story that shows a battle between light and dark; God and the enemy. God’s love was evident throughout and hope was a constant thread.

If you enjoy mysteries based on real life with a clean romance thrown in, then I recommend The Purple Nightgown.

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

The Baby Next Door by Vannetta Chapman

Some secrets are harder to keep…in this novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Vannetta Chapman

Can she help her neighbor without exposing the truth?

When Amish single mother Grace Troyer and her baby girl move back home, Adrian Schrock can’t resist the little family next door. But his plan to nudge Grace out of her shell by asking her to cook for Englischers on his farm tour doesn’t go over well. After all, Grace is worried the job will expose secrets she hopes to keep buried…

Such a fun book! Author Vannetta Chapman writes a story of family, humor, dedication to family, and of course romance. I really enjoyed this from beginning to end.

The characters were well developed and relatable. And who wouldn’t enjoy living next door to an Amish exotic animal farm? Well, Grace wasn’t sure she did, especially when it included cooking suppers for Englischers. The shenanigans she pulls to sabotage the meals kept me laughing. Add in sweet little Nicole and you have a book that you’re sure to enjoy.

With family, faith, and love even during trying situations, this is a heartwarming story I highly recommend.

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

Their Family Arrangement by Angel Moore

How far will they go to keep their promise?

They reunited for the children…

Will they stay for each other?

Sophie Owens and Kevin Lane failed at love a long time ago, but when tragedy makes them guardians of their best friends’ children, they become coparents overnight. Both will do anything for the kids they promised to care for. But when a judge demands they must marry to keep them, a temporary engagement is their only option—causing old flames of lost love to flicker…

This is the first book I’ve read by author Angel Moore and it won’t be the last. I really enjoyed it! I know a lot of people think that Love Inspired books are all light and fluffy but this story proves that wrong. Their Family Arrangement contains tragedy, love lost, commitment, and love found. There is a lot of depth to the story.

The characters are well developed and real to life. As they struggle through a tough situation you can see the growth in them as individuals and as a couple. And the kids. They are so cute!

If you enjoy a contemporary story with life’s issues, is full of hope and love, and even includes laughter, then this story is for you.

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

Amish Midwives by Amy Clipston, Shelley Shepard Gray, Kelly Long

From bestselling authors of Amish Fiction come three sweet stories about new life, hope, and romance. 

Bundles of Blessing by Amy Clipston

Lost in grief after the death of her husband, Kristina Byler gave up remarrying and found comfort and purpose in becoming a midwife. She is surprised when Aidan Smoker—her ex-boyfriend and the man she was sure she’d one day marry—moves back to the community after living in Ohio for the past eight years. They’re both certain there’s too much pain in their shared past for them to have a future, but they keep finding themselves drawn together. As Kristina helps other women bring children into the world, she starts to wonder if a family of her own might be possible after all.

A Midwife for Susie by Shelley Shepard Gray

Haunted by secret guilt after a tragic accident, Joanna Zimmerman is sure she’s left midwifery behind her. She keeps to herself, certain this is for the best. Her childhood friend Dwight Eicher knows that Joanna hasn’t been herself lately, but every time he’s tried to talk to her about what’s wrong, she’s avoided his questions. When his sister, Susie, becomes pregnant, Joanna must decide if she can find the courage to return to the job she once felt so called to. Meanwhile, both Dwight and Joanna face romantic feelings that have the potential to change their friendship forever.

Christmas Cradles by Kelly Long (Also in An Amish Christmas)

When Anna Stolis takes over for her aunt, the local midwife, Christmas night heats up with multiple deliveries, three strangers’ quilts, and unexpected help from the handsome and brooding Asa Lapp. 

Three novellas by some of the best authors of Amish fiction, Amish Midwives was a joy to read from beginning to end. With well developed characters, good descriptions of homes, etc, along with excellent storylines, I could have read this in one sitting.

I enjoyed learning how necessary a midwife is in the Amish community, how she becomes a midwife, and the situations they deal with.

Each story will inspire you as the characters deal with life; forgiveness, courage, dreams, and misunderstandings. And all three have an emphasis on family, community, and faith. With humor, challenging situations, and clean romance this book is really a must read for anyone who enjoys Amish fiction.

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

The Robin’s Greeting by Wanda Brunstetter

A Season of Hope Is Coming 

For the past two years Belinda King, along with her two grown daughters and teenage son, has been struggling to keep the family greenhouse running. Despite disconcerting events that have threatened to put them out of business, they have survived two growing seasons. And now Belinda can focus on the two suitors vying for her attention. Herschel Fisher, a new acquaintance, makes her feel relaxed, and Monroe Esh, an admirer from her past, reminds her of her youth.

But just when Belinda thinks she can choose between her suitors, life throws more trials her way. Her son, Henry, becomes bitter about the idea of her dating anyone, and attacks on the greenhouse start again.

When can Belinda hope to experience the peace and love her weary heart longs for?

What a great ending to the Amish Greenhouse Mystery series! I enjoyed all three books but this one was my favorite. Author Wanda Brunstetter writes a mystery that has twists and turns and a surprise ending. (I won’t say anything more because I hate reading reviews with spoilers.)

I enjoyed returning to the King family and their greenhouse. Brunstetter’s characters are well developed and true to life. Even the annoying ones. I love seeing the growth in each one as they allow God to bring healing and hope.

If you enjoy Amish fiction and cozy mysteries, then I recommend the entire Amish Greenhouse Mystery series. It’s a change for the author I think she did it well.

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

Shenanigans by Heather Norman Smith

You’re never too old for fun, faith, or love.

Lavinia Lewis is a wealthy southern widow who enjoys a good prank. But when a resident at her posh retirement community in Southport, North Carolina gets sick at a potluck, Lavinia’s reputation as a jokester lands her in big trouble. How can she clear her name when her own daughter doesn’t believe she’s innocent?

Neville McGrath is a long-in-the-tooth lawyer, afraid of being put out to pasture. Torn between his nephew’s offer to move to Maine to live with him and his desire to keep working, Neville discovers other options when he takes Lavinia’s case.

The jokes keep her young, but Lavinia remembers the true source of joy as she faces criminal charges. Can she help Neville find his faith for the first time, and can they both find love at eighty years old?

A humorous and inspirational story with lovable characters, a beautiful setting, fun mystery, sweet romance, family drama, and an ending that will leave you sighing in satisfaction.

I enjoyed this story of family, the place called home, and romance for an elderly couple. I’m not going to lie, Lavinia’s constant pranks got on my nerves but she had a good heart, as did most of the characters in Smith’s book.

A couple of situations that were alluded to were a challenge to figure out. A bit of explanation would have caused me to give another star in the rating.

If you enjoy contemporary romance with humor and hope for life’s challenges, then give this book a read.

Dreams Rekindled by Amanda Cabot

Though she hopes for a quiet, uncomplicated life for herself, Dorothy Clark wants nothing more than to stir others up. Specifically, she dreams of writing something that will challenge people as much as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin seems to have. But in 1850s Mesquite Springs, there are few opportunities for writers–until newspaperman Brandon Holloway arrives, that is.

Brandon Holloway has seen the disastrous effects of challenging others and has no intention of repeating that mistake. Instead of following his dreams, he’s committed to making a new–and completely uncontroversial–start in the Hill Country.

As Dorothy’s involvement in the fledgling newspaper grows from convenient to essential, the same change seems to be happening in Brandon’s heart. But before romance can bloom, Dorothy and Brandon must work together to discover who’s determined to divide the town and destroy Brandon’s livelihood.

With this second novel in the Mesquite Springs series, bestselling author Amanda Cabot invites you to discover the healing power of truth.

Author Amanda Cabot continues her Mesquite Springs series with Dreams Rekindled. While it can be read as a stand alone, you’ll want to read book one, Out of The Embers, because it’s a good story and they do intertwine.

Cabot does a good job of setting the stage. She aptly describes life pre-Civil War, including manner of dress, printing newspapers, and even giving the reader the feel of a small town. All of this makes the story itself much more enjoyable and easy to get lost in. She does touch on depression and mental illness but does it in a graceful way so that the book doesn’t become too heavy.

With several twists and turns, this historical fiction story will keep you wondering who’s the bad guy, and who can be trusted. Add in a clean romance and you really do have something for everyone. I highly recommend it!

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

An Amish Surprise (Releases May 18) by Shelley Shepard Gray

In the second installment of the “enjoyable and charming” (USA TODAY) Shelley Shepard Gray’s delightful Berlin Bookmobile series, librarian Sarah Anne Miller returns to Berlin to help a childless Amish couple form the family they’ve always prayed for.

Miriam and Calvin Gingerich have been trying for a baby for several years, but the Lord hasn’t seen fit to bless them. Though Calvin claims he’s content with their childless state, Miriam knows he’s not, and when he starts spending more time off their farm, she worries he’s found someone else. But just as she finds herself at her lowest point, she discovers the ultimate surprise. Unable to confide in anyone who might tell Calvin—out of fear she’ll disappoint him with another miscarriage—Miriam turns to bookmobile librarian Sarah Anne Miller—and any books she may have on pregnancy and childbirth.

Calvin has been keeping a secret from his wife, but it’s not another woman. It’s a little boy. One afternoon when visiting Sarah Anne’s bookmobile, he meets Miles, a ten-year-old living with a foster family down the road. But after spending more time with the boy, Calvin learns that his foster family has no plans to adopt him. Calvin feels a connection with Miles and yearns to give the boy a home, but he’s afraid to tell Miriam, knowing she’s devastated they can’t have children of their own.

As weeks pass and Sarah Anne learns that Miles has nearly given up hope of ever finding a real home, she knows it’s time to intervene. It’s going to take some fancy footwork and a whole lot of prayer, but she knows she can help make this struggling couple into a happy family of four.

I thoroughly enjoyed this, the second book in Gray’s Berlin Bookmobile series. It was full of surprises and kept me reading to find out what would happen next. Picking up where book 1, A Perfect Amish Romance, left off it was good to revisit Berlin, meet up with old friends, and make some new ones.

Romance abounds in this story, and not just for singles. Married people can rediscover romance too. This story had a lot of heartwarming moments that kept a satisfied smile on my face. I really appreciated the plot line of an “older” couple entertaining the idea of finding love.

Gray tackles the subjects of infertility, foster care, and adoption and does it very well. At no time did anything feel hopelessly heavy because there is always hope with God. I highly recommend this book!

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

A Perfect Amish Romance by Shelley Shepard Gray

From New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray comes a new series that follows a bookmobile driver-turned-matchmaker who learns that her Amish patrons need a whole lot more than just new books to read.

Aaron Coblentz has a secret: he’s been studying to take the GED to get promoted at work. But he can’t let his Amish family know, not when his older brother already left the faith just a year after getting baptized, practically crippling the family. When Aaron asks bookmobile librarian Sarah Anne Miller for some additional study guides, she does one better. She arranges for Kayla Kaufman to be his tutor.

Kayla has a secret, too. Her life has been turned upside down in a matter of months—her mother’s death propelled her father into a constant state of depression, and unable to deal with his erratic behavior, her longtime boyfriend has broken things off. But despite losing those she holds most dear, she hasn’t completely given up on love. Only now she seeks to find it in the sweet romance novels she secretly checks out from Sarah Anne’s bookmobile.

As Aaron and Kayla’s study sessions start to feel less like work and more like pleasure, they soon realize that happily ever afters don’t only happen in fiction; sometimes they happen when you least expect it.

I was really excited to start reading this series based on a bookmobile. As a book lover it couldn’t disappoint me, right? Well it certainly didn’t! Author Shelley Shephard Gray’s book had me chomping at the bit to read book 2!

I really enjoyed the plot. A Perfect Amish Romance was surprising in that you don’t often see an Amish person studying for their GED. And being tutored by another Amish person. But in this case it made for an interesting story, and maybe romance?

I loved that both Aaron and Kayla decided to be brave about some specific things in their lives. (No spoilers here!) Add in a wonderful English librarian to help them along, and you don’t know what will happen.

I appreciated that Gray was gentle with the depression of Kayla’s dad. While there was no judgement, there was the need for Kayla to set boundaries and to begin living her own life. Very well done!

If you enjoy Amish fiction that also includes some wonderful Englishers, then I highly recommend this book!

A Wagon Train Weekend by Stephenia McGee

It was just one night at a Victorian B&B. Until they woke up in 1857.

Collette Donaldson never should have taken her boyfriend to her cousin’s wedding. Or introduced him to her parents. After a disastrous weekend, all she wants is to get back home and sort out the mess that had once been their relationship. A heartbreaking fight, a flat tire, and an inconvenient storm force her and Seth to stay the night at a quaint bed and breakfast. But when Collette finds an antique photograph of herself, circumstances quickly shift from weird to unimaginable.

Seth Stone was ready to propose. Now he isn’t sure if he and Collette even have a relationship. People he’d never want to be his in-laws, an irritable girlfriend, and now he has to spend the night in a creepy old Victorian inn. He should have never wondered how things could possibly get worse. When they wake up stranded on a wagon train in 1857, Seth is determined to get home. But the only way to get out of the past is to face the problems stealing their future.

Author Stephenia McGee does it again with this time travel story. Can you imagine being transported back to 1857 from today? McGee does a good job of expressing how this young couple would have felt, what they would have thought, and how they would have reacted. I could picture it all taking place. Some of it was scary, some funny, and always the relationship between Collette and Seth was being tested. Can it survive? You’ll have to read the book to find out. I highly recommend it!

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

The Lady in Residence by Allison Pittman

Can a Legacy of Sadness be Broken at the Menger Hotel?

Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

Young widow Hedda Krause checks into the Menger Hotel in 1915 with a trunk full of dresses, a case full of jewels, and enough cash to pay for a two-month stay, which she hopes will be long enough to meet, charm, and attach herself to a new, rich husband. Her plans are derailed when a ghostly apparition lures her into a long, dark hallway, and Hedda returns to her room to find her precious jewelry has been stolen. She falls immediately under a cloud of suspicion with her haunting tale, but true ghost enthusiasts bring her expensive pieces of jewelry in an attempt to lure the ghost to appear again.

In 2017, Dini Blackstone is a fifth-generation magician, who performs at private parties, but she also gives ghost walk tours, narrating the more tragic historical events of San Antonio with familial affection. Above all, her favorite is the tale of Hedda Krause who, in Dini’s estimation, succeeded in perpetrating the world’s longest con, dying old and wealthy from her ghost story. But then Dini meets Quinn Carmichael, great-great-grandson of the detective who originally investigated Hedda’s case, who’s come to the Alamo City with a box full of clues that might lead to Hedda’s exoneration. Can Dini see another side of the story that is worthy of God’s grace?

If you enjoy time-slip stories then give this one a try! Author Allison Pittman does a really good job of tying 2017 and 1915 together, weaving all the ends in neatly. Not your typical story, this one involves magicians and ghosts. Or does it?

The characters were really interesting, and very different from each other. Quinn and Dini were well developed and likeable. Even though Dini is a bit quirky it adds to the charm of the story. Hedda was a piece of work and I really didn’t care for her. All the marks of a good story!

This story does have a faith element. However it is not preachy and happened very naturally. I did appreciate that we are told Dini doesn’t perform magic but does illusions. 

Do make sure to read the author’s notes at the end. They are very interesting and help tie things together. A story based on real happenings, I recommend it.

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

God of Wonders by Faith Blatchford

Scientific research has shown numerous benefits from the emotion of awe: sharper brain function, increased sense of calm, better connection with others, greater generosity, and a stronger immune system. To live in awe means to live in health–and to face stress, anxiety, and fear with peace of heart and mind.

Invitations to wonder are everywhere. They are precious gifts left in your path by the God of awe. These miracles of life amid destruction whisper hope and release healing. Our spirits are lifted each time we connect with the God who gives beauty for ashes.

Author and creativity coach Faith Blatchford invites readers to meditate for 40 days on the glorious God of wonders, and rediscover their childlike awe through Scripture, reflection, imagination, and prayer. In these pages, you will encounter God as he reveals himself from the Garden of Eden to the Revelation of John. This God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and he is waiting for you in the wonder!

This beautiful book will open your eyes to see the beauty that God has created. 

Written as a daily devotional, each contains a scripture reading followed by a short discussion about that verse that will get you thinking outside of the box. After that discussion is an “Imagine If” paragraph where you are encouraged to think about how you would have reacted in that scriptural situation, followed by a brief prayer for the day. Then you will “Look Up”, where you will take a moment to look at God and maybe ask a question or thank Him for His goodness.

This simply written yet powerful book is a great devotional to help you turn your eyes to the One who loves you. I highly recommend it..

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

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The Amish Secret Wish by Laura Hilton

Waitress Hallie Brunstetter has a secret: she writes a popular column for her Amish paper under the pen name GHB. When Hallie receives a letter from a reader asking to become her pen pal, she reluctantly agrees. She can’t help but be drawn to the compassionate stranger, never expecting him to show up in Hidden Springs looking for GHB . . . or for him to be quite so handsome in real life. But after losing her beau in a tragic accident, Hallie won’t risk her heart—or her secrets—again.

If Kiah didn’t already feel so connected to GHB, Hallie would be a perfect wife—and it seems most of Hidden Springs’s would-be matchmakers agree! Though Hallie is peculiarly opposed to uncovering GHB’s true identity, she understands Kiah almost as well as his mystery pen pal. The longer he searches for GHB, the more Kiah finds himself hoping Hallie will be holding the pen that first captured his heart. But will Hallie ever trust Kiah with the truth about her identity . . . and her feelings for him?

What a fun story! It held my attention from beginning to end. Amish pen pals. One searching for the other. One didn’t want to be found. This made for a lot of laughter as they played hide and seek, so to speak.

The characters are well developed and enjoyable to get to know. I really felt sorry for Kiah as he was led in many directions, trying to find GHB. But he showed tenacity throughout. Hallie needed healing from past hurts, as many of us do. It was enjoyable to watch her grow.

If you enjoy Amish romance with loads of laughter, grace extended, and spiritual growth, then I highly recommend this book.

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

Win the Day by Mark Batterson

Too many people delay, downsize, or shrug off their dreams just because they don’t know where to start, but playing it safe doesn’t account for the massive cost of a life not fully lived. Win the Day is the jump-start you need to go after your goals, one day at a time. You’ll discover how to:

1. Flip the Script: If you want to change your life, start by changing your story.

2. Kiss the Wave: The obstacle is not the enemy; the obstacle is the way.

3. Eat the Frog: If you want God to do the super, you’ve got to do the natural.

4. Fly the Kite: How you do anything is how you’ll do everything.

5. Cut the Rope: Playing it safe is risky.

6. Wind the Clock: Time is measured in minutes; life is measured in moments.

7. Seed the Clouds: Sow today what you want to see tomorrow.

As Batterson unpacks each of these daily habits, you’ll see how simple it is to pursue them with focus and dedication—not someday down the road, but now. Transform your perspective of a single day and you’ll discover the potential waiting to be grasped at the beginning of each new sunrise.

Author Mark Batterson writes a good book on setting goals, how to meet those goals, and changing daily habits.Very motivational from the Christian perspective, Win the Day will help the reader who wants to make changes.

Batterson shares many stories that will help you understand what you need to do, and then encourage you to do so. I really liked the personal tips and found them helpful.

If you’re looking to grow, to make some changes, then I recommend this book.

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

Hiding in Alaska by Belle Calhoune

A new life. A secret past…

Can this witness risk opening her heart

in her new Alaskan home?

Forced to reinvent herself in witness protection, Isabelle Sanchez begins working for an Alaskan chocolate company under the alias Ella Perez. Her new warmhearted town is a peaceful refuge—as is the company of chocolate empire heir Connor North. She may never be able to tell Connor the truth about her fresh start…but can they find love despite her secrets?

Book four in the Home to Owl Creek series, author Belle Calhoune takes us a different route. I’ve never read about someone in the witness protection program and never thought about the emotions that would cause in a person. Not just the fear of repercussion, but having to relocate without loved ones. I found it an interesting perspective.

As with all of the Owl Creek series, I loved the characters. Well developed but also engaging, both Isabelle (Ella) and Connor had a past to overcome before they could move forward. The secondary characters made it feel like visiting old friends as we see many from the other three books in the series. Vivid descriptions of the Alaskan wilderness makes you feel as if you’ve been plopped right in the middle of Owl Creek.

I love each visit to Owl Creek and would like to have coffee at the cafe and stay awhile. This is the mark of a heartwarming, enjoyable story. I highly recommend it!

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

From This Moment by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Growing up in the foster care system, Jase Edgar always dreamed of one day starting his own family. But his fiancée’s untimely death shattered his plans. Moving to Kansas and serving as a youth minister should be a fresh start, but he can’t seem to set aside his doubts about God’s goodness long enough to embrace his new life.

Newly-appointed church custodian, Lori Fowler is battling her own challenges. Her strained relationship with her father and her struggles with overeating convince her she’s not worthy enough for love. When an Amish weaver enlists their help locating the owner of a ring found among the donated clothing she uses as fabric, Jase and Lori find themselves drawn to each other. But will they be able to release the past and move forward from this moment into a joyful future?

Author Kim Vogel Sawyer once again writes a story that will keep you turning the pages. The characters in From This Moment are well written with emotions and trials we all face. Jase is doubting God, which is something most of us have done when life hurts, but as we read about his journey back we see God’s goodness everywhere. Faith deepens in both of the main characters. But will it be enough?

Written from the perspective of several people, you will read about journeys of faith. Healing from the past. Forgiveness of loved ones. And always with hope. If you enjoy contemporary Christian fiction that won’t leave you feeling dejected, then I recommend this book.

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

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The Dress Shop on King Street by Ashley Clark

Harper Dupree has pinned all her hopes on a future in fashion design. But when it comes crashing down around her, she returns home to Fairhope, Alabama, and to Millie, the woman who first taught her how to sew. As Harper rethinks her own future, long-hidden secrets about Millie’s past are brought to light.

In 1946, Millie Middleton–the daughter of an Italian man and a Black woman–boarded a train and left Charleston to keep half of her heritage hidden. She carried with her two heirloom buttons and the dream of owning a dress store. She never expected to meet a charming train jumper who changed her life forever . . . and led her yet again to a heartbreaking choice about which heritage would define her future.

Now, together, Harper and Millie return to Charleston to find the man who may hold the answers they seek . . . and a chance at the dress shop they’ve both dreamed of. But it’s not until all appears lost that they see the unexpected ways to mend what frayed between the seams.

Author Ashley Clark’s debut novel is a timely story that will make you think about how you see people. Are we making decisions based on appearance? Her characters are well developed and engaging. I really loved Millie and I think you will too.

I was impressed with this split time novel. Being Clark’s debut, she did a really good job of seamlessly moving from past to present and back again. The characters are so interwoven into each other’s lives without even realizing it; it’s brilliant. And it will keep your attention from beginning to end.

Grief, broken dreams, love lost and found, there are so many emotions in this story along with hope and dreams fulfilled. I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it.

I am looking forward to book two in the Heirloom Secrets series; Paint and Nectary.

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

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When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin

Munich, 1938. Evelyn Brand is an American foreign correspondent as determined to prove her worth in a male-dominated profession as she is to expose the growing tyranny in Nazi Germany. To do so, she must walk a thin line. If she offends the government, she could be expelled from the country–or worse. If she fails to truthfully report on major stories, she’ll never be able to give a voice to the oppressed–and wake up the folks back home.

In another part of the city, American graduate student Peter Lang is working on his PhD in German. Disillusioned with the chaos in the world due to the Great Depression, he is impressed with the prosperity and order of German society. But when the brutality of the regime hits close, he discovers a far better way to use his contacts within the Nazi party–to feed information to the shrewd reporter he can’t get off his mind.

As always, author Sarah Sundin has done a fabulous job with her portrayal of history. You can always tell she researches her topic thoroughly. The discussions of politics, the descriptions of places and dress, everything was spot on.

The characters in When Twilight Breaks are so well written that you can imagine them being real, even the evil ones. Which was hard for me. Reading this during the covid pandemic and political upheaval in the United States definitely colored my enjoyment of the story. But that’s just me right now. Next year I’ll love it, I’m sure, as Sundin is a brilliant writer.

If you enjoy suspenseful stories with twists and turns, romance, and spiritual growth then give this one a read. I recommend it!

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

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Hers for the Summer by Jill Kemerer

Loving the twins wasn’t part of her plan…

A family for the summer…

Or the beginning of forever?

Eden Page reluctantly agrees to babysit Ryder Fanning’s five-year-old identical twin daughters—but only for the summer. After that, she’s taking charge of her own life, even if it means leaving behind her family ranch that Ryder now owns. But this cowboy, who’s determined never to marry again, could give her everything she wants…including the family and childhood home she loves.

Author Jill Kemerer brings a close to her Wyoming Sweethearts series with book 4, Hers for the Summer. This works as a standalone so don’t hesitate to jump in and enjoy this clean romance.

I found the characters to be so likeable and true to life. Eden feels stuck in place while everyone else moves on with life. Ryder is dealing with wounds from the past. Neither plans to fall in love but you’ll find yourself rooting for them. And maybe wanting to shake them a few times. And the twins. Adorable. They just want a mama to care about them.

The faith journey was very organic; nothing felt forced. It’s always good to read a book where God moves and this is acknowledged. Both have to learn to trust God and others in order to grow and have the life they really want. A sweet story, I highly recommend it.

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

Roots of Wood and Stone by Amanda Wen

This historic home holds the keys to their destiny . . . and their hearts

Abandoned at birth, her family roots a mystery, historical museum curator Sloane Kelley has dedicated her life to making sure others know theirs. When a donor drops off a dusty old satchel, she doesn’t expect much from the common artifact . . .until she finds real treasure inside: a nineteenth-century diary.Now she’s on the hunt to find out more.

Garrett Anderson just wanted to clean out his grandmother’s historic but tumbledown farmhouse before selling it to fund her medical care. With her advancing Alzheimer’s, he can’t afford to be sentimental about the family home. But his carefully ordered plan runs up against two formidable obstacles: Sloane, who’s fallen in love with both the diaries and the house, and his own heart, which is irresistibly drawn to Sloane.

A century and a half earlier, motherless Annabelle Collins embarks with her aunt and uncle on the adventure of a lifetime: settling the prairies of Sedgwick County, Kansas. The diaries she left behind paint a portrait of life, loss, and love–and a God who faithfully carries her through it all. Paging through the diaries together takes Sloane and Garrett on a journey they never could have planned, which will change them in ways they never imagined.

This warm, beautifully written split-time novel will resonate with readers looking for stories that reveal the beauty of God’s plan for our lives, and how our actions ripple for generations

I absolutely loved this book. It was captivating and intriguing. The genealogy aspect locked in my attention.Debut author Amanda Wen did a really good job with the historical side of this split-time story. Annabelle Collins was well written, strong, and full of life.

In the present day side of the story, both Garrett and Sloan are dealing with some heavy things. Abandonment, Alzheimer’s, hurts, and fears that force both to look at their lives and make surprising decisions. They too are well written and I really liked them. 

Being a split-time story, you want to see the past and present intertwined, and Wen pulled it off. There were no loose ends; everything wound together so well that reading between the two time frames was seamless.

If you enjoy historical fiction then I encourage you to give this story a read. You won’t be disappointed!  

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

Her Steadfast Heart by Sharlene MacLaren

Joey Fuller is still mourning three years after his wife’s death, so much so that he leaves his four rambunctious young children to throw himself into the Civil War as a Union captain. But his kids are so ill-behaved that nannies keep quitting—and now, his mother has a broken leg and can’t handle them either. In desperation, Joey decides to advertise for a wife.

Faith Haviland is in a different kind of mourning. Not long ago, her fiancé left her to marry her best friend. Her customers at the diner where she works keep reminding her of that humiliating event and one of them, an older man, has been making aggressive advances. She’s desperate to flee the city—and Joey Fuller’s “Wife Needed” ad seems to be the answer to a prayer.

Will Faith live up to her name when Joey’s kids torment her with their mischief? Can she surrender this strange marriage to God while her new aloof husband is off fighting? And will a string of buttons convince her that he truly loves her?

The second book in the Hearts of Honor series, Her Steadfast Heart can be read as a standalone. I haven’t read book one, Her Rebel Heart, but had no problem following this story. I’m going to go back and read book one, however, because book two is so good.

The story takes place during the civil war, and author Sharlene MacLaren has done a great job with researching that time period; everything feels true to the time. I found the characters to be well developed; real and honest. I was easily immersed in the story because of that. You will love some of them and a couple others you won’t love but you will come to understand them. The mark of a really good story!

A bit of a different twist on arranged marriages, we find Faith needing a fresh start and seeking God for His will. We have Joey who needs to find his way back to God. The spiritual aspects of this story were so natural that they could be simple to skip over but please don’t. We see wayward ones coming home to the Father. Nothing felt forced at all.

If you enjoy historical Christian fiction then I highly recommend Her Steadfast Heart.

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

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Things We Didn’t Say by Amy Green

Headstrong Johanna Berglund, a linguistics student at the University of Minnesota, has very definite plans for her future . . . plans that do not include returning to her hometown and the secrets and heartaches she left behind there. But the US Army wants her to work as a translator at a nearby camp for German POWs.

Johanna arrives to find the once-sleepy town exploding with hostility. Most patriotic citizens want nothing to do with German soldiers laboring in their fields, and they’re not afraid to criticize those who work at the camp as well. When Johanna describes the trouble to her friend Peter Ito, a language instructor at a school for military intelligence officers, he encourages her to give the town that rejected her a second chance.

As Johanna interacts with the men of the camp and censors their letters home, she begins to see the prisoners in a more sympathetic light. But advocating for better treatment makes her enemies in the community, especially when charismatic German spokesman Stefan Werner begins to show interest in Johanna and her work. The longer Johanna wages her home-front battle, the more the lines between compassion and treason become blurred–and it’s no longer clear whom she can trust.

Author Amy Green writes a story that is solely letters written from Johanna to others, and back again. Such a unique way of writing a story, we learn about the places and the people completely from their letters. No traditional descriptions are necessary.

Green takes on real issues including war and racism, yet does it with such grace that you are willing to face the truth. Sprinkle in humor, faith, and hope and you have a great read. If you enjoy historical fiction I recommend Things We Didn’t Say. 

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

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Finding Pretty Wolf by April Gardner

(Christian Historical Romance) One man was hers for a season. The other, for a lifetime.

Many moons have passed since the spirits threw Pretty Wolf together with a scrawny brave and left them to scratch out an existence in a deserted, war-torn village. Though he became dear to her, duty to the People lured her away. Back now with her fugitive clan in faraway Spanish Territory, she lives at the trade post with her longtime betrothed, the Englishman called Iron Wood.

When their war party returns with captive enemy warriors, Pretty Wolf is ill-prepared for one of them to be the boy she abandoned in the north. Neither is she prepared for that boy to have donned a generous spread of muscles. Or for him to have no trouble calling her master.

Night is falling on the Defiance, and it promises to be burial-black. But as Creator Path Maker promised, Strong Bear has found his Wolf. All that’s left is to pray that when the bluecoats invade and rip at the last shreds of her beautiful spirit, there will be something left of her for Strong Bear to love.

Please note: Finding Pretty Wolf is a true saga–a long, involved story–and the culmination of a complex series.

Author April Gardner continues her Creek Country Saga series. Book six, I recommend reading the others first so that you are able to have the full experience of this book. Characters from other books in the series will weave in and out. 

I really enjoy the glossary and maps that are included. They help to bring the story to life. It’s simple to tell that Gardner put a lot of work, a lot of research into Finding Pretty Wolf. Her knowledge of Native American history and culture is what makes this book what it is. 

The central characters are well developed, with strength and yet human frailty. You’ll love and cry along with them as life takes them on many incredible journeys. With twists and turns, love and excitement, this is a story for anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel

All of her life, Irish-American Moira Doherty has relished her mother’s descriptions of Ireland. When her mother dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1920, Moira decides to fulfill her mother’s wish that she become the teacher in Ballymann, her home village in Donegal, Ireland.

After an arduous voyage, Moira arrives to a new home and a new job in an ancient country. Though a few locals offer a warm welcome, others are distanced by superstition and suspicion. Rumors about Moira’s mother are unspoken in her presence but threaten to derail everything she’s journeyed to Ballymann to do. Moira must rely on the kindness of a handful of friends–and the strength of Sean, an unsettlingly handsome thatcher who keeps popping up unannounced–as she seeks to navigate a life she’d never dreamed of . . . but perhaps was meant to live.

Jennifer Deibel’s debut novel delights the senses, bringing to life the sights, sounds, smells, and language of a lush country and a colorful people. Historical romance fans will embrace her with open arms.

The debut novel by author Jennifer Deibel, it took longer than normal to read. Only because I didn’t want to leave Donegal so I took my time, enjoying all of the adventure along the way. It was so difficult to say goodbye.

Deibel took me to the Emerald Isle, where my heart yearns to travel. Since I’m not able to, this book was a wonderful way to experience Ireland and her people. The descriptions of people and places were so well done that I could easily picture it all. Deibel writes of the culture and superstitions. The celebrations and the love of God. She also writes of difficult situations and people, repentance and forgiveness. And of course, sweet romance. 

A delightful read and a fabulous debut, if you enjoy historical fiction I can’t recommend A Dance in Donegal enough. 

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

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Love’s Pure Light by Susanne Dietze, Shannon McNear, Janine Rosche, Deborah Raney

Be transported to unique time periods as you follow a treasured family nativity set through four generations of the Shepherd family.

While Shepherds Watch Are Keeping by Susanne Dietze

Massachusetts, 1899

This Christmas, Pastor Seth Shepherd has little to offer his flock of congregants in their time of need until Jessalyn Grant, a mysterious newcomer, comes to his aid.

The Wise Guy and the Star by Shannon McNear

Charleston, South Carolina, to Kansas City, Missouri, 1919

While journeying by train, Stella Shepherd befriends war veteran Nat Wise. She helps him find renewed faith in God, but could he also be the answer to the wanderings of her own heart?

On Angel Wings by Janine Rosche

Kansas City, Missouri, 1945

Elodie Wise plans a fundraising ball with the help of her friend Benjamin Gabriel. But can she look past the swanky Hollywood headliner to see the man who truly loves her?

Making Room at the Inn by Deborah Raney

Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Present Day

Benjie Gabriel thinks the chef’s position she’s just taken at an award-winning bed and breakfast is temporary—just a stepping stone. The B&B’s owner, Trevor Keye, thinks the same. Will five months be long enough for them to figure out that what they’ve each been longing for, praying for, is right beneath their noses? 

I really enjoyed the concept of following one nativity set through the generations of the family. It made the novellas connect in an intriguing way. Along with historical facts and sweet romance, this set of Christmas stories really makes good reading any time of the year. I recommend it!

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

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40 Days of Intentional Living by Ink and Willow

Cultivate intentional faith practices with this 40-day guided journal that features thoughtful reflections from well-known Christian authors, inspirational quotes, and beautiful illustrations designed to set your mind and soul at rest.

The practice of developing intentional faith habits is not a natural tendency. It requires focus, discipline, prayer, and persistence to grow in our walk with God. We may have great intentions, but often the busyness and chaos of everyday life force our spiritual growth to take a back seat. Fortunately, 40 Days of Intentional Living offers both a practical guide and an inspiring resource to deepening your faith.

Divided into eight themes central to the Christian faith—such as hope, joy, surrender, and rest—these 40 devotions draw from the writings of a number of bestselling and beloved authors of faith, including C.S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King Jr., Louie Giglio, Jennie Allen, Mark Batterson, Brennan Manning, Randy Alcorn, and more. Partnered with daily Scripture reading, thought-provoking journal prompts, and practical action steps to encourage you toward a more intentional faith lifestyle, this 40-day resource is the ideal companion for walking through the seasons of Lent and Advent, as well as for use in personal or group study.

This book is beautiful. It’s just the right size to hold. The illustrations are clean and lovely.

The cover says this book is “a challenge to cultivate faith through devotions, journaling, and prayer.” And the book makes that simple to do. Broken into themes, each day contains a subject with scripture to read and pages for journaling. There is also a quote from a well known author. I think this book would be a wonderful gift for someone.

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

The Moonlight School by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Haunted by her sister’s mysterious disappearance, Lucy Wilson arrives in Rowan County, Kentucky, in the spring of 1911 to work for Cora Wilson Stewart, superintendent of education. When Cora sends Lucy into the hills to act as scribe for the mountain people, she is repelled by the primitive conditions and intellectual poverty she encounters. Few adults can read and write.

Born in those hills, Cora knows the plague of illiteracy. So does Brother Wyatt, a singing schoolmaster who travels through the hills. Involving Lucy and Wyatt, Cora hatches a plan to open the schoolhouses to adults on moonlit nights. The best way to combat poverty, she believes, is to eliminate illiteracy. But will the people come?

As Lucy emerges from a life in the shadows, she finds purpose; or maybe purpose finds her. With purpose comes answers to her questions, and something else she hadn’t expected: love.

Inspired by the true events of the Moonlight Schools, this standalone novel from bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher brings to life the story that shocked the nation into taking adult literacy seriously. You’ll finish the last page of this enthralling story with deep gratitude for the gift of reading.

Get the book. Seriously, get this book. Author Suzanne Woods Fisher writes a story, based on true events, that kept me enthralled from the first page. I found the characters well developed and in fact, so true to life that I know they were talking to me. Which of course they do in a good book. I fell in love with several of them and was amazed at their strength. The descriptions of the hills, the homes there, the mountains, was all very well done.

If I had one disappointment it’s that the Moonlight Schools don’t come into play until quite late in the book. I would have liked to hear more about them and what went on in the classrooms. 

All in all, this was a really good book and if you enjoy historical fiction full of twists, turns, and heart changes, then I highly recommend this one.

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

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Maryann’s Hope  by Molly Jebber

The pleasing warmth of fresh-baked maple cookies…the sweet, buttery flakiness of a raspberry jam pastry. In 1913 Ohio, the Amish Charm Bakery is beloved by locals and visiting Englischer alike. And its understanding community always provides help, healing–and new chances for love…even for a widow faced with an impossible choice between her head and her heart.

Secrets devastated Maryanne Harding’s marriage to an Englischer–and took away her untrustworthy husband. Now the young Amish widow has found contentment cooking up treats at the bakery, raising her little girl, and comforting her ailing mother. And when Andrew Wittmer asks her to marry him, Maryanne is over the moon with happiness that she and the kind furniture maker will put down roots in her hometown…

Until Andrew’s uncle becomes ill, and Andrew must permanently take over his store in a town hours away. Though she would go anywhere to be Andrew’s fraa, Maryanne can’t abandon her mother–or the family that depends on her so much. And when she discovers Andrew harbors secrets of his own, Maryanne’s hard-won trust is shaken. Now, can she risk difficult choices and take a leap of faith into the loving, joyful future she longs for most?

The fourth book in the Amish Charm Bakery series, Maryann’s Hope was heartwarming. It’s always delightful to visit the town of Charm, to meet new people, and visit with old friends. 

A story of second chances, author Molly Jebber has developed wonderful characters in Andrew and Maryann. But as we know, love isn’t always easy and in this case it is full of doubts and sacrifices. The author adds several historical pieces of information, as well as tackling the subject of mental illness. It’s done gently and isn’t heavy. Jebber also writes about trusting God and believing He has the best plan for our lives.

A delightful story of second chances, I highly recommend Maryann’s Hope.

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

A Change of Scenery by Davalynn Spencer

A hidden fear. A daring challenge. A liberating love.

A motorcar accident on a rainy Chicago night steals Ella Canaday’s fiancé as well as her ability to ride. Clinging to the remnants of her independence, she cuts her hair and her ties with her wealthy father and takes a train west as the seamstress with a moving-picture company. Colorado offers the change of scenery she needs. But she doesn’t expect the bold cowboy who challenges her to reclaim both the loves she thought she’d lost forever.

Cale Hutton needs the money the moving-picture company is paying for use of his cattle and horses, but he’s not keen on some city gal gettin’ in the way out at the ranch. Between the filming crew by day and a rogue cattle-killing bear by night, his attention snags on the little bob-haired seamstress. Something about her easy manner around his horse sets his mind to find out what she’s hiding and why she has such a pull on his heart.

Author Davalynn Spencer’s book is classified as an “Inspirational Historical Western Romance.” But it’s more than that. Heartwarming. Informative. Humorous. So many words to describe this book.

The characters are well developed and interesting. They make you happy to have met them and leave you wanting more. I really enjoyed the time period, where cars are beginning to show up in the West yet horses still abound. A Change of Scenery has something for everyone, including a sweet romance. I highly recommend reading it!

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

The Black Midnight by Kathleen Y’Barbo

Two Series of Murders Seem Mysteriously Connected

Step into True Colors — a series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

Three years before Jack the Ripper began his murderous spree on the streets of London, women were dying in their beds as The Midnight Assassin terrorized the citizens of Austin, Texas. Now, with suspicion falling on Her Majesty’s family and Scotland Yard at a loss as to who the Ripper might be, Queen Victoria summons her great-granddaughter, Alice Anne von Wettin, a former Pinkerton agent who worked the unsolved Austin case, and orders her to discreetly form a team to look into the London matter.

The prospect of a second chance to work with Annie just might entice Isaiah Joplin out of his comfortable life as an Austin lawyer. If his theories are right, they’ll find The Midnight Assassin and, by default, the Ripper. If they’re wrong, he and Annie are in a bigger mess than the one the feisty female left behind when she departed Austin under cover of darkness three years ago.

Can the unlikely pair find the truth of who is behind the murders before they are drawn into the killer’s deadly game? From Texas to London, the story navigates the fine line between truth and fiction as Annie and Isaiah ultimately find the hunters have become the hunted. 

Based on a true story, The Black Midnight hits the ground running and doesn’t stop. I never knew about the connection between Jack the Ripper and The Midnight Assassin. It made for interesting reading. Add in a female Pinkerton related to the queen and you have the recipe for a thrilling tale.

The characters were well developed and very true to life with their personalities and interactions. While romance can be a bit awkward in a murder mystery, author Kathleen Y’Barbo did a really good job of meshing the two. If you enjoy such books I recommend reading this one.

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

Choosing His Family by Jill Lynn

Three reasons to ask her to stay…

Will offering a helping hand open the door to forever?

Rescuing a single mom and her triplets during a snowstorm lands rancher Finn Brightwood with temporary tenants in his vacation rental. But because of his past, Finn’s reluctant to get too involved in Ivy Darling’s chaotic life. When he starts falling for the three rambunctious little girls—and Ivy—he can’t help but wish this family would stick around for good.

I really enjoyed this book by author Jill Lynn. It was so much fun with those adorable triplets pulling on everyone’s heart strings. Especially Finn’s. Although it’s the 6th book in the Colorado Grooms series, it reads easily as a stand alone. I haven’t read all of the others and had no trouble following and relishing the story. 

Full of ups and downs, bumps in the road, and both main characters needing healing from the past, Choosing His Family has something for everyone. If you enjoy humor as well as a story that melts your heart, and includes sweet romance, then I highly recommend this one.

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

Endless Mercy by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse

Madysen Powell has always been a forgiving person, but when her supposedly dead father shows up in Nome, Alaska, her gift for forgiveness is tested. With the recent loss of her mother, she searches for answers, leaning on Granny Beaufort, a neighbor in town, who listens with a kind heart. Still, Madysen is restless and dreams of performing her music around the world. The arrival of a traveling show could prove just the chance she needs, and the manager promises more than she ever dreamed.

Daniel Beaufort arrives in Nome, searching for his own answers after the gold rush leaves him with only empty pockets. Still angry about the death of his loved ones, he longs to start fresh but doesn’t have high hopes until he ends up helping at the Powell dairy making cheese. Drawn to the beautiful redhead with big dreams, will deceptions from the past tear apart any hope for the future?

Book Two of the Treasures of Nome series, you’ll want to read Book One, Forever Hidden, before reading Endless Mercy. And It’s worth it!

The authors continue with the story of the Powell family, this time focused on Madysen. I found Madysen to be rather flighty; she didn’t seem to think things through very well, making her a challenge to really like. But the story is one of forgiveness and second chances and she matured in many ways. I really did appreciate the strong faith message throughout.

It’s always fun to read books set in Alaska. To learn about the beauty and what life was like. I never knew there were dairy farms and cheesemaking operations. It’s so interesting! This book is full of adventure, excitement, danger, and of course clean romance. Something for everyone. I highly recommend it.

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

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The Thief of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep

There’s Often a Fine Line Between a Criminal and a Saint

Constable Jackson Forge intends to make the world safer, or at least the streets of Victorian London. But that’s Kit Turner’s domain, a swindler who runs a crew that acquires money the old-fashioned way—conning the rich to give to the poor. When a local cab driver goes missing, Jackson is tasked with finding the man, and the only way to do that is by enlisting Kit’s help. If Jackson doesn’t find the cabby, he’ll be fired. If Kit doesn’t help Jackson, he’ll arrest her for thievery. Yet neither of them realize those are the least of their problems.

While it took me a couple of chapters to get into this book, once I did I couldn’t put it down. I found the characters to be engaging and realistic, and author Michelle Griep’s description of Blackfriars Lane and other places was compelling. I’m sure I was plopped right in the middle of London! But then Griep always takes her readers on incredible adventures.

The dialogue in this book was a journey in itself. Jackson must learn street language, and I learned right along with him. It was extremely colorful. Clean, of course, and often amusing it really added realism to the story..

Griep’s books typically have a Dickens feel, and this one is no different. We learn a lot about 1800s London and the people who live in its shadows. With intrigue, drama, humor, and a clean romance, this book has something for every reader and I highly recommend it.

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

All That We Carried by Erin Bartels

Ten years ago, sisters Olivia and Melanie Greene were on a backcountry hiking trip when their parents were in a fatal car accident. Over the years, they grew apart, each coping with the loss in her own way. Olivia plunged herself into law school, work, and a materialist view of the world–what you see is what you get, and that’s all you get. Melanie dropped out of college and developed an online life-coaching business around her cafeteria-style spirituality–a little of this, a little of that, whatever makes you happy.

Now, at Melanie’s insistence (and against Olivia’s better judgment), they are embarking on a hike in the Porcupine Mountains of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In this remote wilderness they’ll face their deepest fears, question their most dearly held beliefs, and begin to see that perhaps the best way to move forward is the one way they had never considered.

Michigan Notable Book Award winner Erin Bartels draws from personal experience hiking backcountry trails with her sister to bring you a story about the complexities of grief, faith, and sisterhood.

A journey of bitterness, forgiveness, and searching, author Erin Bartels writes a novel that has most emotions except joy. I didn’t see much of that in the story to help round it out. This book is definitely not light. And that’s okay; not all stories are or should be. Sisters Olivia and Melanie each lost their way, and lost each other after a tragedy. It made me sad, but I appreciated their journey back towards relationship. I did feel the spiritual journey fell short. I guess I’m a reader who prefers things wrapped up by the end.

Based on a hiking trip through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan drew me in because I’m from Michigan and I love our UP. Bartels has really good descriptions of hiking and of the area the sisters are in. It’s truly beautiful country. I feel like she may have overdone the hiking metaphors a bit but I could deal with it. 

If you like contemporary fiction that digs below the surface then you’ll enjoy All That We Carried.

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

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Scarred Vessels by Elaine Marie Cooper

In 1778 Rhode Island, the American Revolution rallies the Patriots to fight for freedom. But the slavery of black men and women from Africa, bartered for rum, is a travesty that many in America cannot ignore. The seeds of abolition are planted even as the laws allowing slavery in the north still exist. Lydia Saunders, the daughter of a slave ship owner, grew up with the horror of slavery. It became more of a nightmare when, at a young age, she is confronted with the truth about her father’s occupation. She is burdened with the guilt of her family’s sin, as she struggles to make a difference in whatever way she can. When she loses her husband in the battle for freedom from England, she makes a difficult decision that will change her life forever.

Sergeant Micah Hughes is too dedicated to serving the fledgling country of America to consider falling in love. When he carries the tragic news to Lydia Saunders about her husband’s death, he is appalled by his attraction to the young widow. Micah wrestles with his feelings for Lydia while he tries to focus on helping the cause of freedom. He trains a group of former slaves to become capable soldiers on the battlefield. Tensions both on the battlefield and on the home front bring hardship and turmoil that threaten to endanger them all.

When Lydia and Micah are faced with saving the life of a black infant in danger, can they survive this turning point in their lives?

Author Elaine Marie Cooper tells a tale of rebellion and love. Her attention to historical detail is incredibly well done and makes the story so believable that you’ll feel dropped into the midst of it. We learned about smallpox vaccinations, Swamp Yankees, and things I didn’t know about the Revolutionary War. All told in such a way that the learning is very enjoyable.

All of the characters are well developed and realistic. You’ll either love them, like I did Micah and Lydia, or you won’t. And I didn’t like Lydia’s mother but that is part of a good book. Seriously, if you enjoy Christian Historical Fiction, then Scarred Vessels is a must read.

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

Dead Broke by Vannetta Chapman

Why would someone kill Nathan King?

The peace of a perfect November afternoon is shattered when Agatha hears the frantic bleating of goats across the river from her B&B. Agatha kayaks over with retired detective Tony and two guests–Bishop Henry and his wife Emma. They find the goats huddled together in a terrified group and Nathan lying face up beneath the Live Oak trees, lifeless eyes staring at the Texas sky.

Then one of Agatha’s guests goes missing. She delves into Joey’s past and learns he was Dead Broke, so what was he doing vacationing at her B&B? And why was he pretending to be Amish when in fact his permanent address was Dallas, Texas? Most importantly, did Joey have anything to do with Nathan’s death? Agatha and Tony are at a dead end before the investigation has properly begun, but this time they receive help from unexpected places. Bishop Henry has a gift, and he’s no longer afraid to use it, even if doing so may put them all in danger as they work together to catch a killer.

Dead Broke is a story about family secrets, rare gifts, and the joy of unexpected friendships.

This is book two in the Agatha’s Amish B&B series and could be read as a stand alone. But please don’t. Book one, Dead Wrong, is a great read and it will make reading this one a richer experience. And we also find a couple of favorite characters from the author’s “The Amish Bishop Series.” I love how they’re tied together.

A story of unlikely friendships, Agatha and Tony again work together to solve a murder. I enjoy seeing their relationship grow. But just how far can it go since Agatha is Amish and Tony is English? Regardless, they’re good friends who care for each other. They really are written true to life and I’d love to stay at Agatha’s B&B!

Chapman’s writing style is enjoyable. The story flows so well and the rhythm of it is relaxing. It’s not a constant on edge cozy mystery but occasionally comes down and is restful. But you know that trouble is always brewing in the background. 

If you enjoy a cozy mystery and one with Amish ties, then please read Agatha’s Amish B&B series. It’s truly delightful.

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

The Dressmaker’s Secret by Kellyn Roth

If they knew who she was, they’d never accept what she’s become.

Claire will stop at nothing to provide for her daughters. An unwed mother, she does everything possible to raise them whilst avoiding her scandalous past. Some secrets are best kept, even between mother and daughter.

Alice longs for a father, especially if that means her mother will be happy. She takes matters into her own hands—but she never expected what she finds.

Despite her efforts to shelter her daughters, Claire’s ghosts rise up to haunt her, and any semblance of control over her life vanishes. If her secrets are uncovered, what will become of her family?

The Dressmaker’s Secret is the first novel in a Christian family saga, The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy.

I enjoy historical fiction that’s written well, with attention to detail and author Kellyn Roth did that. Her book had the feel you would look for in a novel of that time period, scandals and all. And I appreciated the gospel being shared with a main character in a natural way.

The characters were charming, troubled, and all the things people are. I found the plot intriguing and fairly well written. If I had one complaint it’s that the story is told through the eyes of an eight year old. I seemed to be written in such a way that I sometimes felt I was reading a children’s book. Yet, as we all have different tastes, I can recommend this book to readers who enjoy Christian fiction. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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

An Unlikely Proposal by Toni Shiloh

Their friendship can survive almost anything…

For two best friends,

marriage could be their greatest test yet…

Trinity Davis must not have heard firefighter Omar Young correctly. Did her handsome widowed best friend just suggest they get married? Omar needs a mom for his adorable little girls, and it’ll fix Trinity’s financial woes. But saying “I do” isn’t just business. Especially when the only vow they’re in danger of breaking is their promise to not fall in love…

This modern day marriage of convenience is heartwarming, charming, and captivating. Can you tell I enjoyed it?

Author Toni Shiloh fully convinces us that best friends can marry and remain best friends. Until they can’t. Trinity and Omar are well written characters, full of depth and true to life. They walk through many realistic challenges, such as Trinity’s health problems and Omar’s need for someone to care for his girls. And can I say those girls are delightful? They bring an extra measure of fun to the story. And what about that cover? Isn’t it beautiful?

Shiloh is known for writing contemporary stories of diversity that are much needed in the Christian fiction world. If you enjoy inspirational fiction or the Love Inspired Inspirational Romances, then I highly recommend An Unlikely Proposal.

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

A Home for Her Baby by Gabrielle Meyer

She’d do anything for her child.

To secure their future…

she must face the heartbreak of her past.

Forced to sell her bed-and-breakfast, Piper Connelly’s happy to stay on as manager—until the pregnant widow discovers her former high school sweetheart is the buyer. While Max Evans has changed from the boy who once broke her heart, Piper’s not so sure about working with him. But what if the perfect home for Piper and her baby is right here with Max?

A story of second chances, author Gabrielle Meyer writes a heart warming tale of high school sweethearts who find each other again. But is it enough?

Characters Piper and Max are both looking to start over in a safe place; a place to heal from hurts, and a place to grow into for the future. Meyer’s characters have depth and personality. They seem so real that I found myself cheering them on. I also loved her descriptions of places, the bed and breakfast, the football games. And who doesn’t love a story with a pregnant woman on the verge of giving birth to a beautiful baby? If you enjoy contemporary Christian fiction or the Love Inspired Inspirational Romances, then I highly recommend A Home for Her Baby.

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

A Double Dose of Love by Kathleen Fuller

Prepare for a double dose of romance and fun when two sets of Amish twins find love.

Identical brothers Zeb and Zeke Bontrager aren’t looking for love. They have their hands full with a new horse farm, a half-finished ranch house, and a wild colt, thanks to Zeke’s hasty business dealings. Now Zeb must contend with Zeke’s bad decisions, hidden debts, and tendency to avoid responsibility, which threaten their good standing in the Birch Creek Amish community.

When a newspaper ad prompts Darla King to travel to Birch Creek in search of a husband, her identical twin, Amanda, promises their parents she’ll convince Darla to come home. After all, Amanda is the responsible and reliable one. She has always protected Darla, who acts on impulse and trusts people too easily. The sisters’ close relationship is strained as Darla asserts her independence and Amanda grapples with regrets of her past and the longings of her own heart.

When Zeb and Amanda join forces to protect Darla and Zeke from each other, none of them can possibly predict the outcome as all four come face-to-face with their highest hopes and deepest insecurities in the first installment of the Amish Mail-Order Bride series.

This first book in author Kathleen Fuller’s new series, An Amish Mail Order Bride, left me eager for book two. It was fun to “watch” two sets of twins work through not falling for each other.

The main characters in this story are appealing and true to life. I did get frustrated as in each twin set, one tried to protect their twin from life. I may have hollered, “let them grow up!” a few times. But that of course was a part of the story line. I felt that way towards Darla’s parents, too. Talk about helicopter parents.

While I knew how the story would end, the journey was enjoyable as I got to know both twin sets, watching them grow and mature into responsible young adults who took ownership of their mistakes and then repaired them. If you enjoy Amish fiction then I think you’ll enjoy A Double Dose of Love.

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

Purchase here

Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow by Dr. Jan Pol

The star of The Incredible Dr. Pol shares his amusing, and often poignant, tales from his four decades as a vet in rural Michigan.

Dr. Jan Pol is not your typical veterinarian. Born and raised the Netherlands on a dairy farm, he is the star of Nat Geo Wild’s hit show The Incredible Dr. Pol and has been treating animals in rural Michigan since the 1970s. Dr. Pol’s more than 20,000 patients have ranged from white mice to 2600-pound horses and everything in between.

From the time he was twelve years old and helped deliver a litter of piglets on his family’s farm to the incredible moments captured on his hit TV show, Dr. Pol has amassed a wealth of stories of what it’s like caring for this menagerie of animals. He shares his own story of growing up surrounded by animals, training to be a vet in the Netherlands, and moving to Michigan to open his first practice in a pre fab house. He has established himself as an empathetic yet no-nonsense vet who isn’t afraid to make the difficult decisions in order to do what’s best for his patients—and their hard-working owners. A sick pet can bring heartache, but a sick cow or horse could threaten the very livelihood of a farmer whose modest profits are dependent on healthy livestock.

Reminiscent of the classic books of James Herriot, Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow is a charming, fascinating, and funny memoir that will delight animal lovers everywhere.

As a fan of Dr. Pol’s TV show, I looked forward to reading his book. I enjoyed reading the biographical information and learning more about Pol. I also enjoyed reading about his various methods and his relationships with the local farmers.

If I had one complaint about the book it would be that the chapters are somewhat disjointed. I understand that Pol is not an author and that this isn’t his fault. I would have liked to see David Fisher tighten things up as he wrote Dr. Pol’s stories. But all in all I can recommend this book to those who enjoy veterinarian stories. 

Nicole by Sarah Monzon

Who has time to date when she’s trying to raise a miniature human by herself AND save the planet from its irresponsible inhabitants? Not to mention my winning personality (snort) and my curves-have-curves figure (eyeroll) don’t exactly attract the opposite sex. Unfortunately, none of these reasons have stopped my best friends and SoCal sewing sisters from taking on the archaic role of matchmakers, and they’re not beneath a little bribery if that’s what it takes to get my cooperation. Let’s just say everyone has their weak spot, and donations to my favourite charities is mine.

If I were to consider a romantic relationship, my dream guy certainly wouldn’t be immature, everything-is-a-game Dr. Drew Bauer. The man raises my body temperature faster than global warming does the Earth’s! But life seems determined to keep throwing us together, especially now that one of my SoCal sewing sisters is engaged to his best friend, in which case there can only be one of two outcomes:

1. I kill him in a fit of annoyance.

2. My common sense escapes me, and I fall in love with him.

Honestly, I’m not sure which would be worse.

I’ve really enjoyed the Sewing in So Cal series and I want more of these friends. Author Sarah Monzon has written the best of the three with Nicole’s story, and that’s saying a lot. You could read this as a stand alone but don’t. You’ll miss out on a lot of nuances if you do. Plus, Molly and Jocelyn have great stories of their own.

The characters in this story grew on me. I wasn’t even sure I could like Nicole at first. She’s very strong willed and opinionated. And not afraid to share that opinion. But I grew to love her as she dealt with being body shamed and showed her vulnerable side. A great reminder not to judge by the cover! And Dr. Drew had some maturing to do but I liked him. He tried so hard to win Nicole. All of the characters are great and it was fun to have the “people” from books 1 and 2 present in book 3.

If you enjoy a good rom-com with depth then I highly recommend Nicole. You won’t be disappointed.

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

A Cowboy for Keeps by Jody Hedlund

Greta Nilsson’s trip west to save her ailing little sister, Astrid, could not have gone more wrong. First, bandits hold up her stagecoach, stealing all her money. Then, upon arriving in Fairplay, Colorado, she learns the man she was betrothed to as a mail-order bride has died. Homeless, penniless, and jobless, Greta and her sister are worse off than when they started.

Wyatt McQuaid is struggling to get his new ranch up and running and is in town to purchase cattle when the mayor proposes the most unlikely of bargains. He’ll invest in a herd of cattle for Wyatt’s ranch if Wyatt agrees to help the town become more respectable by marrying and starting a family. And the mayor, who has promised to try to help Greta, has just the candidate in mind for Wyatt to marry.

Author Jody Hedlund’s new series, The Colorado Cowboys, started off with a bang.

Both Greta and Wyatt are wounded, stubborn individuals who have to learn to trust, and learn to let someone help them. Little sister, Astrid, and right hand man, Judd, are enjoyable additions to the story as Astrid is mischievous and Judd is full of wisdom. All of them are good hearted and seem realistic as they develop and grow, learning that God has a plan. Of course it’s not a good western without a fight over cows, and a stage coach robbery, so Hedlund introduces us to rascals that will make you want to shake them.

The descriptions of places make the reader feel dropped right into Fairplay, Colorado. As I read, I could picture the mountains with snow on the peaks. The woods full of shadows. The sunshiney fields with cattle. And of course the town itself. It would be fun to visit.

This marriage of convenience story was one that kept my attention. I really wanted to see how it ended so I read quickly. I’ll just say that the ending left me anxious for book two. If you enjoy Christian historical fiction I highly recommend it.

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

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All Through the Night by Tara Johnson

With her stammering tongue and quiet ways, Cadence Piper has always struggled to be accepted. After the death of her mother, Cadence sets her heart on becoming a nurse, both to erase the stain her brother has left on the family’s honor and to find long-sought approval in the eyes of her father. When Dorothea Dix turns her away due to her young age and pretty face, Cadence finds another way to serve . . . singing to the soldiers in Judiciary Square Hospital. Only one stubborn doctor stands in her way.

Joshua Ivy is an intense man with a compassionate heart for the hurting and downtrodden. The one thing he can’t have is an idealistic woman destroying the plans he’s so carefully laid. When the chaos of war thrusts Cadence into the middle of his clandestine activities, he must decide if the lives at stake, and his own heart, are worth the risk of letting Cadence inside.

Everything changes when Joshua and Cadence unearth the workings of a secret society so vile, the course of their lives, and the war, could be altered forever. If they fight an enemy they cannot see, will the One who sees all show them the way in the darkest night?

If you enjoy Christian Historical Fiction then you will love All Through the Night. I seriously believe it to be author Tara Johnson’s best work yet, and that’s saying a lot. This novel is beautifully written, even the parts of it that are raw and bold. 

Covering an incredibly difficult part of American history, Johnson tackles slavery, prejuidisim, and the horrible group of men that wanted things to stay the way they were, even to the point of killing those who worked against them. She also writes about the heroes of the underground railroad and the horrors of battle. And yet through it all is God and His mercy. Love and compassion that Cadence and Joshua show towards others. And a beautiful romance.

Because this book deals with many truthful things from the Civil War, it’s not always easy to read but I couldn’t put it down. It fascinated me from page one, and I was sorry to see it end. I do think she could have given us a few more details in the epilogue, but it did end in a satisfying way. I can’t recommend this book enough!

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

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Second Chance Romance by Jill Weatherholt

Small-Town Daddy 

Jackson Daughtry’s jobs as a paramedic and part-owner of a local café keep him busy—but the single dad’s number one priority is raising his little girl with love and small-town values. And when his business partner’s hotshot lawyer niece comes to town planning to disrupt their lives by moving her aunt away, Jackson has to set Melanie Harper straight. When circumstances force them to work side by side in the coffee shop, Jackson slowly discovers what put the sadness in Melanie’s pretty brown eyes. Now it’ll take all his faith—and a hopeful five-year-old—to show the city gal that she’s already home.

I really enjoy the books by Love Inspired. They’re clean, Christian fiction that I can read when I just want to relax. Which doesn’t mean there’s no depth to the story.

Second Chance Romance by author Jill Weatherholt is charming, easy to read, and still deals with life issues. The main characters have both been hurt and need to learn to trust again. Their faith in God is important to this story and I appreciate that.

I love the settings that Weatherholt has written into the story. A coffee shop, an apple orchard, all small town warmth and fun. And who doesn’t love an adorable five year old? Seriously, this book has it all and I highly recommend it.

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

To Steal a Heart by Jen Turano

After a childhood as a street thief, Gabriella Goodhue thought she’d put her past behind her until a fellow resident at her boardinghouse is unjustly accused of theft. In the middle of breaking into a safe that holds the proof to prove her friend’s innocence, Gabriella is interrupted by Nicholas Quinn, the man she once considered her best friend–until he abandoned her.

After being taken under the wing of a professor who introduced him into society and named him as heir, Nicholas is living far removed from his childhood life of crime. As a favor to a friend, Nicholas agreed to help clear the name of an innocent woman, never imagining he’d be reunited with the girl he thought lost to him forever.

As Gabriella and Nicholas are thrown together into one intrigue after another, their childhood affection grows into more, but their newfound feelings are tested when truths about their past are revealed and danger follows their every step.  

Book one in the new Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency series, author Jen Turano doesn’t disappoint and I can’t wait for book two!

Turano does a fabulous job writing stories with quirky characters who have heart. I loved both Gabriella and Nicholas for this reason. They cared about people; they just didn’t always want to show it due to issues from their past but we were able to see them grow. Other characters I didn’t love so much, but that turns a good story into a great story.

I enjoyed the historical aspects of the book, which were written in an entertaining way. It was fun to see the ridiculousness of the 400 brought to light in amusing ways. Yet we also saw the danger of growing up in a place like Five Points, and how girls especially had to take care for their safety.

If you enjoy historical fiction with clean romance and fun characters then I highly recommend To Steal a Heart.

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

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An Amish Winter by Vannetta Chapman & Carrie Lighte

Can love warm their hearts?

Snowstorms and babies bring couples together

in these two sweet Amish novellas.

In Vannetta Chapman’s Stranded in the Snow, widowed single mother Faith Yoder and her baby find temporary refuge from a snowstorm with Elijah King’s generous help. And in Caring for the Amish Baby by Carrie Lighte, after her trip south for the winter is delayed, Amish spinster Leah Zehr must work with Jonathan Rocke to care for her sick friend’s baby.

I found both of these books delightful, and they easily could have been developed into full length novels. But sometimes life calls for reading novellas.

As in many stories, we meet characters who have been wounded and are guarded, or are wanting to care for someone who doesn’t want to be cared for. Whatever the situation, both authors did a wonderful job of portraying people I would really enjoy getting to know. They have depth; human qualities that make them seem so real.

And the cover. Who doesn’t enjoy one with a chubby baby on it? I enjoyed that both stories included the cutest little ones. It definitely added reality.

If you enjoy Amish fiction and want something lighter to read, then I highly recommend An Amish Winter.

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

The Coffee Corner by Amy Clipston

In this third installment of Amy Clipston’s Amish Marketplace series, an acquaintance grows into love over a few well-timed cups of coffee.

Alongside her cousins who have booths of their own, Bethany Gingerich runs a busy and successful coffee and donut stand at the Amish market. Since she has café-style tables and chairs, her regular customers enjoy purchasing a morning treat so they can sit and talk to their friends.

Micah Zook and his grandfather, Enos, visit Bethany every Saturday morning to purchase coffee and donuts before going to work at Enos’s custom outdoor furniture shop. Bethany enjoys talking to Micah and Enos, and she’s always thought Micah was handsome—but she doesn’t think her crush will ever result in anything more.

When Micah and his grandfather don’t come to see her one Saturday morning, Bethany begins to worry. And when she learns that tragedy has struck, she wonders how to help Micah in his time of need. Turns out he needs a friend now more than ever, and Bethany may be just the kind of friend that God has provided for him.

Author Amy Clipston continues with her wonderful Amish Marketplace series. You could read The Coffee Corner as a standalone, but I recommend reading the first two books in the series. Not only are they enjoyable reads, but it will make this book easier to follow as we catch up with many of the previous characters.

Clipston does a great job of putting her reader right in the Amish Marketplace. I’d so love to visit and have coffee at Bethany’s Coffee Corner. Her coffees and donuts sound delicious! And that is the mark of a really good author, when you can hear and smell where you are. And her characters. They are so well developed that I want to meet them. Shop the Marketplace with them. Sometimes even shake them just a bit. They are human and flawed. They love and laugh. They struggle with grief. All things we can relate to. While the romance in this book doesn’t come easily, we watch Micah and Bethany allow God to help them as they deal with pain, forgiveness, and healing in a non-preachy way. 

If you enjoy inspirational Amish novels I highly recommend The Coffee Corner.

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

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