Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Brides of Big Valley by Wanda, Jean, and Richelle Brunstetter

I really enjoy books that family write together.  It's really neat to see how the stories interweave, yet stand apart with the writer's unique style.  
In the Bride's of Big Valley we see three generations come together for stories from unique Amish communities.  From the description: In an area of Pennsylvania called The Big Valley, a uniquely blended Amish community thrives in which 3 distinct groups of Amish identify themselves by the colors of their buggy’s top—white, black, or yellow. Join New York Times Bestselling Author Wanda E. Brunstetter, her daughter-in-law, and granddaughter in experiencing the stories of three young women who search for faith and love within this special place. Deanna is a widow who sees her second chance of love slipping away. Rose Mary is at a point in life where she must choose the path of her faith and the right man to walk with her on it. Leila is burdened with family responsibilities and wonders when she will ever start a family of her own.

I really enjoyed the stories, they could stand alone but work well together as characters overlap.  There is a little explanation of the different Amish groups highlighted, but I like having more background on unique cultures so I did a bit of my own research and that really was helpful in understanding more about the groups and made the reading much better. 

In Deanna's Determination Deanna is left widowed with a special needs child.  Elmer has loved Deanna but an accident leaves him bitter and unable to see a future with her.  The story had sad parts, but just like real life, things aren't always rosy.  I enjoyed how the characters were portrayed and how they worked through their challenges.  

In Rose Mary's Resolve Rose Mary meets a pilot who crashes and the family nurses him to health.  He is drawn to their simple way of life and family bond.  Kevin's father is, well, he's kind of a jerk and pushy.  I really liked how Kevin grew in faith and matured as the story went along.  The story had a nice flow and pace. 

Leila's Longing was probably my favorite in the book.  You really felt for Leila and wanted her to find her place in the community and love.  How many times do we feel that we are never enough?  Leila was the character who changed the most in my opinion in the stories.  I found myself caring for her and invested in her being happy.  This was a great story to end the book with!

All in all I enjoyed this book.  It's going to be a great addition to my shelf.  So pick up your copy today!  Happy Reading!   

Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Lady and the Wish (Faraway Castle book 4) by J.M. Stengl

Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved fairy tales.  She grew up into an adult who still loves fairy tales and is passing the love on to her children.  

I do love fairy tales and retellings.  This past week I was able to read the next installment of the Faraway series, The Lady and the Wish.
Isn't this cover GORGEOUS!  From the description: Gillian set her heart on marrying a prince.

Lady Gillian Montmorency is determined to win Prince Fidelio’s heart, but her plans are crashing around her ears. First, Fidelio’s older cousin with a beard like a bird’s nest proposes to her. Next, intimidating Prince Max insists she will be his next trophy.

But the worst of all, her parents reveal a financial scandal. To pay off her father’s debt, Gillian must agree to work one year as companion to an old lady at some remote and ramshackle villa.

Fine. She’ll go. But she doesn’t have to like it.

Something strange is going on at Lady Beneventi’s villa. Ghostly people appear, doors vanish, statues come to life . . . and the old lady herself despises Gillian. With the help of a handsome but hostile construction worker, can Gillian solve the mystery of the wishes and return to her proper place in high society? Can she finally snare a prince to marry?

Or might love play a part in changing her plans?

A King Thrushbeard Romance
 

I don't see too many retellings of Thrushbeard which makes this a unique story to begin with.  Gillian (who has made previous appearance) is spoiled and self centered.  At least on the surface.  But like all tales looks can be deceiving.  Despite the "mean girl" reputation Stengl's characters have multiple layers and depth to them.  

From hundreds of poodles to a flirting statue the story moves quickly and keeps the reader engaged.  With wishes that often led to mass chaos my son and I couldn't get enough.  Honestly to me the series just keeps getting better and better.  My son's only complaint was not enough cinder sprites, but the poodles made up for it.  With a beautiful romance interwoven in this story was pure magic. 

So if you are looking for some misfiring magic, romance, and a strong female character, this is your book.  So pick up your copy and enjoy another trip to Faraway Castle where magic lies inside.  Happy Reading!  

Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Friday, March 8, 2019

Mending Fences by Suzanne Woods Fisher

All aboard!   I'm on tour again with Celebrate Lit.   So hop on and enjoy the ride.  

About the Book:

Book: Mending Fences

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Christian fiction, Amish, Mennonite

Release Date: February 5, 2019

Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future.

Luke Schrock is a new and improved man after a stint in rehab, though everyone in Stoney Ridge only remembers the old Luke. They might have forgiven him, but nobody trusts him. He has been allowed to live at Windmill Farm under two conditions. First, he must make a sincere apology to each person he’s hurt. Second, he must ask each victim of mischief to describe the damage he caused.

Simple, Luke thinks. Offering apologies is easy. But discovering the lasting effects his careless actions have caused isn’t so simple. It’s gut-wrenching.

And his list keeps growing. Izzy Miller, beautiful and frustratingly aloof, also boards at Windmill Farm, and Luke’s clumsy efforts to befriend her only insult and annoy her. Eager to impress, Luke sets out to prove himself to her by locating her mother. When he does, her identity sends shock waves through Stoney Ridge.

“A funny, heartwarming story of friendship, love, and the possibility of happily ever after.”—Amy Clipston, bestselling author of Seat by the Hearth


“Suzanne Woods Fisher has written a sweet and poignant story you won’t want put down. Definitely a must read!”—Kathleen Fuller, bestselling author of the Amish of Birch Creek series

Honestly, I just love Ms. Fisher's books.  She challenges me with complex characters, intense plots and complex layers.  I love the plot twists in this one and it was nice for once to have a friendship built and focusing more on redemption versus romance.  This is why I keep coming back for more of these stories.  

Hope, forgiveness and facing your past are strong interwoven themes in this book.  Overall I just can't find the words to do justice to how much I enjoyed this story.  I can only give it a five star rating and those are few and far between with me.  

So pick up your copy here and enjoy another fantastic book by a master story teller.  Also, enter to win the giveaway and follow the tour!  Happy Reading!  

About the Author
Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including the Nantucket Legacy, Amish Beginnings, The Bishop’s Family, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series. She is also the author of several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Facebook @SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor and Twitter @suzannewfisher.



More from Suzanne
A Friend in Need



“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” –Walter Winchell

Luke Schrock was nearly friendless. He returned to Stoney Ridge in Mending Fences after a stint in rehab only because his bishop, David Stoltzfus, strongly encouraged him. And everybody knows you didn’t say no to your bishop.

But nobody else in town wanted anything to do with Luke. They forgave him for the trouble he’d caused in his last downward spiral, the one that went too far. The one that even scared Luke. Forgiving him was the easy part. The Amish of Stoney Ridge were intentional forgivers. It was their trust—that’s what he would have to earn. Trust was a fragile thing. Once broken, it wasn’t easily mended.

Somehow, David was still able to look past the behavior to see the best of Luke Schrock. He didn’t stop there. He found a family who was willing to take Luke in, and he spent hours with him—at times as a mentor, at times as a father figure, but mostly as a friend.

A loyal friend can have a powerful impact. Consider those friends in the town of Capernaum, who carried their paralyzed friend to Jesus for healing—so determined to get to Him that they dragged his stretcher up onto a roof, broke through the roof tiles, and lowered him down. Can you imagine being in the crowd, listening to Jesus, as straw and tile pieces and branches and bugs started to drop down from the ceiling? A shocking display…of devoted friendship. And what a miraculous outcome for that paralyzed man!*

I won’t tell you how Luke’s story ends—only that he works hard to find ways to make amends to those he hurt, to regain trust. Especially the hard-to-earn trust of a brown-eyed beauty named Izzy.

Do you have a real friend like David Stoltzfus, who walks in when the rest of the world has walked out? Or maybe the better question, for you, for me, is to ask ourselves if we are friends to others like David Stoltzfus was to Luke Schrock. I know I want to be.


*This miracle is reported in three gospels: Mark 2:1-12, Matthew 9:1-8, Luke 5:17-26.

Giveaway


Enter to win this Kindle here!

Blog Stops
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Among the Reads, March 6

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Christian Chick’s Thoughts, March 11

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 11

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 12

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, March 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 12

Vicky Sluiter, March 13

Random Thoughts From a Bookworm, March 13

Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews, March 14

Lighthouse Academy, March 14

Texas Book-aholic, March 14

For Him and My Family, March 15

Mary Hake, March 15

janicesbookreviews, March 15

Literary Reflections Book Blog, March 16

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Inspiration Clothesline, March 16

Have A Wonderful Day, March 17

Hallie Reads, March 17

Inklings and notions, March 17

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, March 18

For The Love of Books, March 18


The Becca Files, March 18


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Forgiving Jar (The Prayer Jars book 2) by Wanda Brunstetter

I am so far behind in my reviews.  This has been a truly busy season here.  I managed to slice my hand with a knife and then a few weeks later went in for an emergency surgery (not hand related).  

It's been great for reading but not so good for typing up reviews!  I'm finally on the mend so I can start catching up.  

I was excited to read book two in the Prayer Jar Series
From the back: What would happen if you found out someone has been impersonating you?


Sara Murray had never met her mother’s parents and was surprised to learn after her death that they were Amish living in Pennsylvania. When she is finally able to make the trip to meet them, she is shocked to learn someone else has been living with them and pretending to be Sara. Sara can’t understand how quickly her grandparents are willing to forgive the imposter.

Secrets and deceit seem to follow Sara, and she is so tired of it. Though soon she meets Brad Fuller who is visiting her grandparents for during Christmas. She likes him a lot, but even he seems to pull away from her, not being totally honest.

Struggling, Sara finds an old canning jar hidden in the barn that is full of encouraging prayers. Can Sara find a way to forgive the past and move on to building new relationships?

This book once again delivers what we expect of Wanda Brunstetter.  Full of twists, turns, surprises and grace this story blew me away.  Sometimes it's hard to outdo such a great first book in a series but Ms. Brunstetter managed to do so. 

Michelle continues to grow and develop and I found myself drawn to her more in this book.  Sara was a bit of a struggle as I felt that she was super harsh.  It was good seeing other characters from the first book.  Although this book could stand alone, it's better to read the first book in the series.  

So pick up your copy of The Forgiving Jar and enjoy a fresh twist on the Amish genre!  Happy reading!  

Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Monday, December 10, 2018

Woman of Courage: Collector's Edition Continues the Story of Little Fawn by Wanda E. Brunstetter

I am a huge Wanda fan and was excited when I found out that she was releasing a continuation to Woman of Courage!  
From the back: A Woman of Courage Makes an Epic Journey


Take a three-thousand mile journey with Amanda Pearson as she leaves the disgrace of a broken engagement and joins the work at a Quaker mission in the western wilds. The trip is fraught with danger, and Amanda is near death before reaching her destination. Among those she meets are an Indian woman who becomes her first convert and a half-Indian trapper who seems to be her biggest critic. But love follows her into the wilderness and will determine the course of her future. You are sure to enjoy this historical romance adventure from New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter.

Included is the newly-written sequel, Woman of Hope, with Little Fawn’s story.
Raised as an orphan by a loving white couple, Little Fawn always felt something was missing from her life. She longs to take the news of Jesus to the Nez Perce Indians, but despite being a missionary herself, Little Fawn’s mother forbids it. Will White Wolf, her intended, support Little Fawn’s decision when she abruptly follows the tribe’s migration onto the Plains?

To read my first review of Woman of Courage click here

I really loved the addition of Little Fawn's story.  Now a grown young woman Little Fawn chafes under her mother's rules and longs to be a missionary to her people.  Little Fawn runs away but what follows is not what she hopes for.  

Kidnapped, beaten and starved will Little Fawn be trapped by an enemy tribe or will White Wolf, the man she loves be able to save her?  

The story keeps moving forward and there are many twists and turns in the plot.  Faith, courage, and love are interwoven in this beautiful continuation.  

Pick up your copy today and enjoy another great story from a master teller.  Happy Reading!  

Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Saturday, December 8, 2018

The Amish Midwife's Secret (Love and Promises #2) by Rachel J. Good

I'm working with a vengeance here to get everything caught up.  The good news, is that there is light at the end of my tunnel!  

Between multiple Dr. dashes I was able to grab a quick and very enjoyable read by Rachel J. Good.  

From the back:  An Amish midwife and an Englisch doctor must embrace their differences to rescue a baby in need in this uplifting romance that will "capture your heart and leave you smiling" (Amy Lillard). 


Kyle Miller never planned on becoming a country doctor. But when he's offered a medical practice in his sleepy hometown, Kyle knows he must return... and face the painful past he left behind. Except the Amish community isn't quite ready for Kyle. Especially the pretty midwife who refuses to compromise her traditions with his modern medicine...


The more Leah Stoltzfus works with the handsome Englisch doctor, the more she finds herself caught between the expectations of her family and her own hopes for the future. It will take one surprising revelation and one helpless baby in need of love to show Leah and Kyle that their bond may be greater than their differences... if Leah can find the courage to follow her heart.

I really enjoyed the first book in the series, The Amish Teacher's Gift.  I was excited to see where this book took me.  I loved the reintroduction to Kyle and bringing him back from a previous book.  You can totally read this as a stand alone though.  

This sequel was a real joy to dive into. Combining several good story telling elements: mystery, drama, romance, and faith. You step in and enjoy the world from the author's perspective.  

The characters shine and the plot is immersive and moves at a great pace.  It's a great faith based romance.  For those who love Amish books this is a must read.  

So pick up your copy of The Amish Midwife's Secret and enjoy a great story!  Happy Reading!  

Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Tory's Daughter by Angela K. Couch

It's been pretty hectic around here and I've gotten more behind than I care to admit but, thankfully I have some much need catch up time these next few days so I am getting up some reviews!

I've gotten to read the next book in a fantastic series.  From the back: 
Burying his wife is the hardest thing Joseph Garnet has ever done—until he's called to leave his young son and baby daughter to fight Iroquois raiders. When one of the marauders tries to steal his horse, the last thing he expects is to end up tussling with a female. The girl is wounded, leaving Joseph little choice but to haul her home to heal—an act that seems all too familiar. Though Joseph doesn’t appear to remember her, Hannah Cunningham could never forget him. He rode with the mob that forced her two brothers into the Continental Army and drove her family from their home—all because of her father’s loyalties to the crown. After five years with her mother’s tribe, the rebels and starvation have left her nothing but the driving need to find her brothers. Compelled by a secret he’s held for far too long, Joseph agrees to help Hannah find what remains of her family. Though she begins to steal into his aching heart, he knows the truth will forever stand between them. Some things cannot be forgiven. 

This has just been a fantastic series and I've really enjoyed each and every book.  The historic aspects of this series have been such a big draw for me.  Angela Couch did a fantastic job with the time period.  

The book kept me pretty well sucked in and my husband often found me stirring dinner with the book, luckily he's used to me burning food!  

The characters were well written and every time I though they were going to get a break another bend in the story happened.  The series truly keeps getting better and better and I enjoy reading about previous characters from the past books.  

If you are a history lover, adventure reader who likes a dash of romance thrown in this is a great series.  So pick up your copy and enjoy! Happy reading! 

Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*