Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A Plain Leaving

Disclaimer: I am a big fan of Amish fiction and don't find a lot that I don't enjoy. However, I absolutely loved this book and cannot wait for the next one in the series. 

This is a "time-slip" book alternating between present day with Jessica and back when Ruby, a descendant of Jessica's, is living during the Revolutionary War. 

Jessica left her Amish roots and became "Englisch" when issues were raised regarding the way things were being handled regarding her family farm and how she wanted to live her life.  She left behind her whole family and the love of her life, Silas, and headed from her Lancaster home to Harrisburg where she got her own apartment and job in the modern world. She started dating Tom and was content with her life.

However, a tragedy brings Jessica back home and she feels out of sorts. Dealing with the tragedy and her family who has shunned her, Jessica cannot wait to return to her life in Harrisburg. But, is that the life for her?

In Ruby's setting, she is also confronted with trials and tribulations and leaving her home for Canada and a better life with her betrothed, Paul. The neighbor's nephew, Duncan, moves in next door to help his uncle but ends up helping Ruby with the endless work to keep her farm running while her brother is in Canada starting their new settlement. Along with his sister, Isabelle, Duncan starts helping Ruby's start to see to new possibilities. 

Both Ruby and Jessica, generations apart are faced with life changing decisions. Can Jessica learn from Ruby's story? 

I just was in love with the settings and the characters in this book. It was one of those rare books that I didn't want to end.  Thank you so much to Bethany House for the copy. No review was required.  

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Gift of Christmas Past by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall

I was so happy to get an advance copy of this book.   When I first found out it was a Cindy Woodsmall book, I immediately thought it would be an Amish book. So, in complete honesty, I was a little leery of it because I am not what you would call a "romance" reader. However, I was so pleasantly surprised. The story grabbed me right away. I was excited to also see that it was co-authored by Erin Woodsmall.

Hadley and Monroe are high school sweethearts but Hadley has a lot of issues and can't seem to keep her anger in check. When a crime happens, and Hadley is blamed, Monroe is forced, for reasons I won't post here, to walk away. 

Fast forward years later, Hadley and Monroe meet again. What will happen? You have to read to find out. 

I really enjoyed this story and read it very quickly. I was just saying to someone the other day that in this day of violence, and almost how things are so accepted in regards to explicit language and situations, it's so refreshing to read a good, wholesome story. I was glad I had the opportunity to read this. 

No review was required. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Gathering the Threads by Cindy Woodsmall

Well! What a fun journey this was! I have finally finished The Amish of Summer Grove Series. This is the third and final book in the series and will release in August 2017. I was so lucky and grateful to receive an advance copy from WaterBook Multnomah and help with the launch! 

For my review on Book One (The Ties that Bind) click here: Ties That Bind
For my review on Book One (Fraying at the Edge) click here: Fraying At The Edge

You can read what the first two books are about in my other blogs, but this is the wrap up of the Brenneman family saga about Ariana and her place in the world. Finding out she was switched at birth, she had to carve out a new life for herself and come to grips with the fact that who she thought were her birth parents were not. On top of that, she had to deal with the fact that her real birth parents are "worldly". This goes against everything Ariana stood for and believed in. 

It is also the story of her lifelong friendship with Quill and how they had to learn to forgive each other in order to move on in life. 

Also, we get to see through the series how Skylar, who is the girl really born to Amish parents, Lovina and Isaac, come to terms with addiction and if she will find peace in the upheaval in her life as well. 

I don't like to give too much away in my reviews, because I want you to read them yourselves and enjoy them as much as I did. However, there were a few things I wanted to touch on. 

I couldn't stand Nicholas. Even towards the end, I found it hard to come to terms with how much turmoil he actually caused in Ariana's life. Again, no spoilers here, but for those who read the book, I would love your thoughts. 

Also, and I know I am going to get major darts thrown at me, but I didn't like, nor did I ever come to like Skylar. Even after things have started to settle, she still seemed entitled to me. 

However, I loved this series. I usually like Amish fiction but this series had a real depth to it. I think it's going to do very well in wrapping up the series for those who have read the first two and are looking forward to seeing how it all plays out. I was so lucky to get to read it in advance and I want to thank WaterBook Multnomah again for allowing me to help promote the last book as well as sending me the first two so that I could get caught up. No review was required. 

I hope you all enjoy this book as much as I did! Summer isn't over yet and I have plenty left on my summer reading list! What are you reading this summer? Comment below! 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Well, talk about a surprise. I kept hearing about Ms. Paris' new book out this year called The Breakdown and then saw this was her first book. I read it on my iPad and it went so fast! 

The premise is this: Grace and Jack appear to have the perfect marriage, but they don't. What we always see is not always the truth. But, I don't want to give too much away. This description is from Goodreads: 

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace's friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn't Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

So, that being said, enjoy this book. I know some reviews were saying what was going on in the book wasn't totally feasible, and while at first, I thought, "Well, I would know what to do", I started thinking, "Maybe not." I think what happened IS possible due to the way the author wrote and explained it. 

Anyway, what I really wanted to rave about was the ending. I absolutely loved the way the author ended this. I thought it was one of the most creative endings I have ever read. Like I said, I was reading on my iPad and when ending a chapter, I thought I had a few more pages left, only to find I hit the end. I was sitting there, not in shock, but just totally satisfied with the book and that hasn't happened in A LONG TIME. 

I cannot wait to read Ms. Paris' new book. Let me know what you think about this one though and let me know what you think about how the author ended the story. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Fraying at the Edge by Cindy Woodsmall

Greetings, all! 

The time is getting closer to the release of the third book in this series, Gathering the Threads, but today I want to talk about the second book, Fraying at the Edge. For the review on the FIRST book click here: Ties That Bind

The second book picks up from where the first one left off, launching Ariana into her strange new modern world.  She is so committed to her Amish lifestyle and faith she feels like she's falling apart or "Fraying at the Edge" (ha! You like how I did that?) when her biological father places certain demands on her. 

Meanwhile, Skylar (the biological daughter of the Amish Brenneman family) is also struggling acclimating to her new environment as well. She tries everything in her power, while struggling with addiction, to alienate the Brennemans the best she can. 

Neither girl wants to be in the situation they are in. Can they find some kind of peace or at least tolerance for their surroundings while waiting for the end of the time period that was forced on them? 

My two cents; This series has been great so far. I cannot wait to read the third book. I will be starting it today.  I kind of felt like a bad person while reading this one, because I absolutely felt no sympathy for Nicholas, Ariana's biological father. Without giving too much away, I thought he was horribly rude, unrelenting and quite frankly, totally disrespectful of Ariana's lifestyle and faith. I don't like to rant too much on blogs, for fear of spoiling something, so I will not give any more away, except to say, I haven't been this engrossed in characters in a long time. 

Isn't it great when you actually care what happens in a book and get vested in the characters? I find lately that it doesn't happen a lot, but with this series, I really can't wait to find out what happens. The only downside will be when I am finished the last book and they will be gone. 

A big thanks goes to Waterbook Multnomah for allowing me to be on the launch team for Gathering the Threads and also for sending me the first two books in the series. No review was required. 

SPECIAL:  Right now when you pre-order Gathering the Threads, you will get The Ties that Bind FREE!!! Go to today to get this awesome BOGO deal! 

And, as always, please let me know what you think! Thanks for reading! 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Address by Fiona Davis

Quick synopsis: This book switches back and forth between 1885 and 1985 and involves a woman named Sara who helps run a prestigious hotel in England. She is approached by Theodore Camden after an incident who offers her a job in the now famous Dakota Apartment building in New York City, which, in the story, hasn't been completed yet. Theodore is one of the architects working on the building.  Sara travels to the United States to be the manager of the property which promises to be THE address that everyone will want to live in. 

The more modern portion of the story involves, Melinda a descendant of Theodore Camden and her "cousin" Bailey. They call each other "cousins" because Bailey's grandfather was a "ward" of Theodore Camden's, essentially an orphan that he and his wife, Minnie took in along with their own children. Bailey is struggling with being an alcoholic and takes a job helping Melinda, who is back at the Dakota renovating her own apartment. Bailey is appalled at the renovations Melinda is doing to a historical building, but down on her luck, Bailey assists. 

While in the building, Bailey finds old artifacts, showing her some of Theodore Camden's past. She sets out to find out the link between her life and the one shown in the 1885 portions of the story. I won't go into any spoilers here, so on to my two cents!

Wow! I loved this story. I admit, I didn't think I would like it as much a I did when I started the book, but for me, it took off and that was it! I found myself wanting to get back to it as soon as I could and reading late into the night. Plus! It had my favorite city in it and also my second favorite thing about a book is when I think something is fiction and it turns out not to be, making me look further.  I know about the Dakota building. For those who may not, it's where John Lennon lived and was ultimately killed. However, there is something in this book (I won't get into it) that turned out to be a real place (noted at the end). I highly recommend this story. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Family drama, mystery, history, my favorite could I not? Thank you so much to Penguin's First to Read Program for the ARC.

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Ties That Bind by Cindy Woodsmall

Total disclosure: I was allowed to join a launch team for the third book in this series. First, thanks in advance to WaterBook & Multnomah for sending me the first two books in the series so that I could get caught up. So, let's start there! 

This book grabbed me from the beginning and I must confess the characters stuck with me long after I put the book down. I found this book to have a lot of depth, something that is not found too easily these days. 

Ariana Brenneman is faithful to her Amish family and their lifestyle. She is a firm believer in the Old Ways and is at peace with her life. Her faith is unshakable. However, she is also getting over being hurt by an old friend, Quill Schlabach. 

Quill left the Amish years prior and started helping other Amish people leave the community when they wish to do so. He helped Ariana's friend, Frieda leave and Ariana sees this as completely disrespectful and a betrayal to the Amish community. Ariana shockingly learns that Quill is back and that is possibly helping a family member of Ariana's to leave the community. 

Ariana is determined to find out who it is and try to stop it.  She is also trying to focus on the positive in her life, which includes her dream of opening a cafe. 

However, there is a huge possible bombshell lurking that could shatter Ariana's life as she knows it. I don't want to give too much away here, but believe me, I felt this story was riveting. I was really drawn in. 

The next book is Fraying at the Edge. I will do blog on that when I am finished, but I also want to say that the third book, Gathering The Threads is going to be available August 2017 and I can't wait. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

Hello, all! 
I just finished The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda. I received a copy from NetGalley. No review was required. But, I still thank Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review. 

The Perfect Stranger had a great lure, mystery, intrigue, suspense. Unfortunately it didn't really deliver for me. It took me way too long to finish it. The story revolves around Leah Stevens who is recovering from a scandal at work. When Leah is at her lowest point and trying to figure out her next move, she comes back into contact with her old college roommate, Emmy. Emmy says she is bouncing back from a breakup, so she suggests she and Leah leave their troubles behind in Boston and share a house in the woods in Pennsylvania. 

After they arrive and get semi-settled, a brutal assault takes place near the lake where they live. The victim: Bethany Jarvitz. Is the suspect a coach at the school where Leah teaches and has contact with? Is Leah in danger? 

Then, Emmy disappears and it looks like she may be the next victim. Can Leah find her in time? What's Leah's role in all this? 

Well, you can read to find out, but I found it very slow moving. However, some parts were good, and I guess since I wanted to see what happened, I stuck it out, but it just seemed to take too long. I thought the ending could have been written differently and then it would have been worth it. I was already looking forward to my next book. 

I really am grateful to NetGalley! I am sure I will enjoy the next one I get a lot more! 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan Henry

Hello, all! I hope everyone is gearing up for some great summer reading. I know I am. I am also getting quite intimidated by my "to read" list (lol).  It has a life of its own. 

If you are looking for a light, good beachy read, you can always turn to Patti Callahan Henry. Her new book The Bookshop at Water's End coming July 2017 is perfect for your beach vacation. 

There are some heavy parts in it, but nothing crushing. Bonny and Lainey have been friends all their lives, spending summers together at the beach and on the river in a magical South Carolina town. Flashing back to the times when they were young and Lainey's mom disappears and then coming back to present day, where Bonny is having several problems of her own, you get a thorough feel of their long standing friendship. 

Bonny and Lainey return to the place where the best and worst things have happened to them to try and make peace and clear their heads. Can they? Can they fix past and present issues? Along for the ride is Bonny's daughter, Piper and Lainey's children, George and Daisy. Piper is fighting her own demons, but just like Bonny and Lainey back in the day, Piper also finds solace in the bookshop at Water's End.

My two cents: I got pulled into this book very quickly and it really kept my interest. The only thing I didn't feel was that the bookshop didn't have such a big role in the story to be the focus of the title, in my opinion. Yes, the bookshop owner, Mimi is a major player in the story, but the title is all about the bookshop. I might be nitpicking. 

In any event, some parts were  a little too dramatic, but sometimes that's good in a story. It's DEFINITELY a read to be enjoyed with the summer wind in your hair while you're sitting near the water. Let me know what you think. Thank you to NetGalley for an advance reader copy of this book. No review was required. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green

I really should blog on every book I read.  I find I really do enjoy it. I give EVERYTHING I read a star rating on but the ones I blog about are the ones I get in exchange for an honest review. This one I received from First To Read by Penguin. It's a great program!  

This one was a hard one to review. This is my 4th Jane Green book. I keep trying her books because the masses seem to love her. I have two more on my "to read" list and then that will be it for me. This one, however, was a little better than the other three I read and therefore, I gave it one more star than the others. It wasn't as dramatic as the others, either and slightly more believable. Ronni Sunshine, megastar back in her heyday, has three daughters, Nell, Meredith and Lizzy. Ronni is sick (not really a spoiler) and wants to, as a lot of people do, make amends with her family. All three girls are not close with their mother, due to the fact that her actor life took her away from them for long periods of time and quite frankly, made her quite the narcissist. The girls aren't close with each other either. Each daughter has branched out and they barely talk. Ronni wants to try and change that, too and try and make them see that they need each other. Word of advice, the book did hold my interest, but it is a light read. There are no surprises here. What you read on Goodreads, or the book jacket is what you get. But, all in all, a good story, except for a side issue (which I won't go into here) seemed to be an afterthought that wanted to be forced into the story by the author and not really relevant to the main plot. Thank you so much to Penguin Random House First To Read Program! I really appreciate it.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Gone Without a Trace

I have never heard of this author before, but you can bet I will be looking into another book of hers!  I can honestly say this is the most fun I have had with a book in a long time. The premise, without spoiling anything is this: Hannah has it all. A good job, a comfortable home and a loving boyfriend. She goes away for a business trip and is thrilled when her boss hints at an upcoming promotion. Riding high, Hannah returns home only to find her boyfriend,  Matt, is gone. Not only is he gone, every trace of him is missing. All of his belongings, all the artwork he had brought with him that had hung on the walls, everything. And, not only is it gone, all of Hannah's belongings are back in the places they were in before Matt moved in with her. Hannah is stunned and goes to call him only to find that all of her calls, texts and pictures with Matt are gone from her phone. At first, I thought, he didn't exist in the first place, but Hannah calls her best friend and tells her Matt is gone and from that point on, it is evident that he DID exist and a true mystery ensues. I think I yelled at loud once or twice, "What is going ON here?" It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it thoroughly. And, let me just say the ending isn't your typical tie it up a bow, all is well scenario. I HIGHLY recommend this book. Go have fun with it! Thank you to Penguin Read It First program for the advance copy! 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Amish Weddings by Leslie Gould

I have found a great Amish fiction author to add to my already very heavy to read list. I received a copy of this from The Bethany House review program and wanted to share my review. 

I am a big Amish fiction fan. I like a couple different authors, and never had heard of this one. Well, I dove right in! I was only disappointed when I found out this was a third  installment in a trilogy. I immediately wanted to go back and read the first two. 

I really enjoyed this book. It was about two Amish sisters and their family. Lila, the older sister is planning her wedding to Zane when a terrible accident happens (I won't get spoil it here), and younger sister Rose has to step up and help. Rose is in the middle of her own courtship with Reuben and trying to find her own way in life. 

Meanwhile, Zane's English friend, Trevor shows up for a visit and that's when things really start picking up in the book. 

This book is a great lesson to all about appreciating what you have right in front of you and how important it is to cherish your loved ones. Even more powerful is the power of forgiveness and moving on in the best way one can. 

If you like Amish fiction, I highly recommend this story. The characters were very well developed, and made me want to see them again.  I am happy to have found Leslie Gould, so a big thank you goes out to Bethany House!