Wednesday, October 9, 2019

A Christmas Haven by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall

I was so happy to receive a copy of this from Waterbrook! I absolutely loved the first book about these characters, The Christmas Remedy.  Read my blog about The Christmas Remedy here: Christmas Remedy Blog.

In this story, we see that Holly is still working for Greene's Pharmacy. Holly is granted special permission by her bishop to continue working and pursuing extra education while planning her wedding.  She worries that after she's married, her new husband's bishop (in another district) will forbid her from working because Amish women don't usually work outside the home. 

Meanwhile, her sister, Ivy, is planning to leave her Amish roots to start a party planning business.  She feels that she wants more out of life than milking cows on her family farm and being held to the restrictions of her Amish world.  However, she struggles with the heartbreak she knows will bring her mom and sister. 

Also, we meet brother and sister Arlan and Magda.  Magda is in a very difficult situation and has absolutely no support from her family.  Arlan has always had a special bond with Magda and he is determined to help her.  They meet up with Holly and Ivy's family when an accident happens in front of Greene's pharmacy.  But was it an accident?  Maybe it was the work of God?  I say that because Holly and Ivy and their mom provide compassion and help when that didn't seem to be in the cards for Arlan and Magda. Could divine intervention have put the brother and sister right where they belong? 

This book, at least to me, has taught the importance of trusting and having faith in God ESPECIALLY when things don't seem to be going your way and in times of trouble.  Also in my two cents, these characters seem so real to me and I would LOVE to be able to visit Greene's.  The pharmacy and atmosphere are described so well that I could just really envision it. Oh, and that cover!!! I just think it's beautiful.   I enjoyed spending time with the characters and visiting their little town.   In fact, I wouldn't mind seeing them in a third book.  Hint, hint?  

So, get this book and get in the Christmas spirit early!  You'll really enjoy it!  Thank you to Waterbrook for the copy.  No review was required and all opinions are my own. 

Thursday, October 3, 2019

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

Merry Christmas, everyone!  Okay, I might be a little early, but I guarantee if you read these stories, you will feel like celebrating early! 

This book contains four stories: Cookies and Cheer by Amy Clipston,  Loaves of Love by Beth Wiseman, Melting Hearts by Kathleen Fuller and Cakes and Kisses by Kelly Irvin.  

In Cookies and Cheer, Alyssa is looking forward to Christmas.  Working in a bakery with her sister is very enjoyable for Alyssa and she's excited to be planning another festive window display for the bake shop.  Everyone else is looking forward to Alyssa's Christmas display.  She did such a good job on the Thanksgiving one so people are excited to see what design she comes up with.

Meanwhile, the very handsome Kyle Smoker is showing interest in Alyssa and she couldn't be happier.  She can't believe her good fortune and is looking forward to the Christmas season.  With Kyle's help, a beautiful window for the bakery is designed. However, will it bring more that Alyssa can handle?  Will the holiday be ruined? Find out in Cookies and Cheer. 
In Loaves of Love, Katie and Henry have been friends all their lives.  They have a special bond and even share the same birthday. Katie has hoped for years that Henry will ask her out and take their friendship to the next level.  But, Henry has been too nervous to ever ask her out.  When he finally gets up the nerve, will he be too late?  Katie seems to be getting involved with David. David lives in a more modern Amish community and attempts to get Katie to see that his way of life is easier. 

Katie IS busy running her family's bakery during the holiday and has more on her plate than usual, so maybe David's ways DO make things simpler.  Is David right for her?  Henry's sister seems to think Henry be able to find love with the lovely Clara. Will this help him push his feelings for Katie away?  Read Loaves of Love to cheer for your favorite couples!
Melting Hearts by Kathleen Fuller is all about Mattie who travels to another town to help her Aunt Carolyn with her bakery during the Christmas rush.  However, her uncle is building an extension onto the bakery and asks Peter to help.  Mattie harbors bad feelings to Peter because he used to date her friend Lizzy and "broke her heart." Maybe the whole truth hasn't been told and Mattie and Peter can uncover a way to work side by side by side.
Cakes and Kisses is by Kelly Irvin and features a man named Ambrose who has some difficulties. But Martha doesn't see him that way.  She sees a kind, loving, helpful man and despises the way some treat him.  Ambrose is actually more loved than he realizes, by Martha and his close friends and family.  He needs to find a way to overcome his insecurities and look around before he misses out. On top of that, a cousin comes to take over half the farm where Ambrose lives and works with his aunt. Will Ambrose overcome his challenges and find Christmas joy? Take a relaxing break with Cakes and Kisses and discover for yourself. 

I thoroughly enjoyed these four short stories in this collection.  All the authors really make their characters become real and pop off the page.  The only thing for was that all four stories involved bakeries and a LOT of talk of Christmas treats and that just made me hungry!  I am just joking but I think they did such a wonderful job with describing the bakeries, the treats, the Christmas season and the real reason for the holiday. If you love Christmas like me, you'll love diving into these stories early to get ready for Christmas! 

Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Whisper Man by Alex North

This book is about Tom Kennedy and his son, Jake who are reeling from the loss of wife and mother Rebecca. They move to a new town for a fresh start, but find more than they bargained for.  Tom is already concerned about Jake's imaginary friend and now it seems as if their new home may have more of a history than most.  And, the town also has a history that isn't one to boast about.  A serial killer killed several children decades earlier.  How does this all tie in?  Well, I won't spoil anything, but it does. 

The first part of the book dragged for me and then about 20 percent in, I think it took off like a juggernaut.  I finally found myself looking forward to getting back to it. There's so much more to it than just Tom and Jake's story.  It involves not only the past of the town, but also the story of one of the police officers who can't let the the case of the murdered children go. When new crimes start happening, that same detective  comes aboard to assist. 

Once the book took off, I really enjoyed it and it gave me some definite heebie jeebies!  The only thing I didn't like was the end.  I really did NOT like the last page.  I thought it was too much over the top. All in all, though a great read and one I think will do well. 

Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for an advance copy.  All opinions are my own and no review was required. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett

Can we all first just stop and admire this cover!?  I just love it! Coming June 18th, is Karen Barnett's new novel, Ever Faithful, the third book in the National Parks Series.

Elsie is a worker in Yellowstone National Park where her father is a park ranger.  Elsie enjoys her job in the park, but she also wants to branch out and further her education.  She dreams of a life as a teacher and wants to make a difference in peoples' lives. However, she struggles with a tragedy that that she suffered as a child and can't seem to move on, especially when her cousin shows up to work in the park and dredges up their history.  However, she always finds the beauty in the park and is very grateful for the relationships she shares with her two best friends, Mary and Rose. 

Nate Webber is part of President Roosevelt's CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), giving a hand up to certain men who are given jobs and education in the parks.  Nate is a natural born leader but hasn't received a formal education.  He struggles with certain things regarding learning and he feels ashamed but is looking forward to the new opportunity.  

Teddy Vaughn is a proud park ranger and has his eyes set on Elsie.  It seems to be fate that they are thrown together what with their shared history in Yellowstone.  He feels like he's on top of the world with his position and feels that marrying Elsie is a given.  There's no way she would turn him down, right?

Other things happen in the book and I don't want to give too much away! 
You do not need to read the other two to know what's going on in the third.  They are total stand alone stories but I really enjoyed the other two as well.  

I have said in other blogs that I absolutely love when something in a story is true and makes me look more into what is being discussed.  The CCC was in fact a real program that provided jobs during a the Great Depression.  I had never heard of it before.  Some young men felt that the pay wasn't worth it while others saw it as a great chance to improve their lives and learn. Here's a picture of a group of young men who took part in the program: 

I could easily imagine the characters in the book being in this picture.  If you want to learn more about the CCC click here: CCC Program

I really enjoyed this book! It was one of those great, sweeping stories.  It drew me in right away and I think it is just perfect for your summer reading! Get yours June 18th! Thank you so much to WaterBrook and Ms. Barnett for the great read. 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

The Farmer's Bride by Kathleen Fuller

Martha has a problem.  She knows she should be thinking about finding a husband and she's ready for that, but she feels pressured from the young men in her community.  She wants to find her match on her own terms, but things seem to keep getting in her way.  

Seth is also not ready to find a spouse.  He is more interested in his wood carving that he's trying to perfect to maybe go into business.  He is also dealing with some family issues that I won't go into.  I don't want to give too much away.  He's just in a place in his life where he doesn't have time nor or the desire to settle down. 

A new family arrives in town to start an inn.  Loren, Delilah (Loren's mom), Nina (Loren's daughter) and Levi (Loren's son) all live together and start working on the business and building a new life in Birch Creek.  Delilah immediately wants to set up Nina and Levi with possible spouses.  Delilah thinks Nina should start a relationship with Seth and that Martha might be good match for Martha.  But, Martha isn't ready to be attached to Levi and Nina isn't ready to be hooked up with Seth.  So, Martha and Seth hatch a plan.  If they can just put the idea out there that they are interested in each other, even though they aren't, it may just keep everyone off their backs.  What could go wrong?

 So great when you get a book and find out it's part of a series.  Am I right? The Farmer's Bride is the second book after The Teacher's Bride.  Now, you don't have to read the first one, but, personally, I recommend it.  I enjoyed seeing appearances by characters in this book that I knew from the first.  

I enjoyed this book so much.  I loved the story, the dialogue, the characters and the writing style. And look at that gorgeous cover!  Honestly, I think it would be a great movie.  Comes out June 4th. Get your copy then! Thank you so much to the author! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Perfect Son by Lauren North

Tess wakes up in a hospital with a stab wound and has no idea how she got there.  She remembers that it happened on her son, Jamie's birthday and now she doesn't know where he is.  Even worse, she remembers that her husband is dead, killed in a tragic plane crash several weeks prior.  

The story takes the reader back to a little more than a month before Jamie's birthday and alternates between that time and the current time in the hospital, leading up to the actual birthday.  

While I thought the premise was good and the way the story was told was original, I was a little let down by the ending. Well, let me re-phrase that.  The whole idea was good and creative but without giving too much away, I think the ending would have packed a little more punch IF the author hadn't portrayed the main character the way she did with such severity. She ended up getting on my nerves a little.

Overall, I think this book will do well.  It was previously released in the U.K. as The Perfect Betrayal. Releases here August 2019. Thank you to NetGalley and to the publisher for the copy.  No review was required. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

The Artful Match by Jennifer Delamere

The Artful Match is now out by the very talented Jennifer Delamere.  This is book three in the series, but you can easily read it as it a stand alone.  The series is about three sisters: Rosalyn, Julia and Cara.  One book for one sister.  I haven't read the first one yet, but I thoroughly enjoyed the second one so I was excited to read this one.  

Cara is down on her luck after she leaves her current employment (I won't spill why) and travels to London to stay with her sister.  She is shocked to find that Julia is out of town (again not telling why -haha) and just as she decides to go to Rosalyn, she meets up with Langham.  Langham is an aspiring artist with a very different background than Cara.  Langham learns that Cara's dream is to become and artist and he takes her under his wing.  

Cara is drawn into an artist's world as well as into Langham's along with his brother a very rich earl, Henry and his ward, Amelia.  I don't want to give too much away so let's just say that the story is about Cara making her way in the world with new friends and new opportunities.  There is also a side plot about Cara's family that just adds to this wonderful story. 

I know I am a little late as this story came out last month, but let me tell you I just loved the second one and I loved this one, too.  Miss Delamere writes so well and I always think the characters are brilliantly developed.  When I read, I personally don't like a lot of description because I am imagining the scene in my head anyway.  However, this author gives the perfect amount of description and really transports the reader into the story and the time.  I could go on and on about how much I enjoyed this book.  If you love Christian fiction, get this book.  It's fantastic. 

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House.  No review was required and all opinions were my own.  Thank you to Bethany House for this opportunity!