Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Christmas Prayer by Wanda Brunstetter

I love a good Christmas story any time of the year.  It's my favorite season and transports me away from all the Virginia heat! 


This was such a nice read and a step away from the Amish fiction that Wanda fans know.  From the back: Beloved, bestselling author of Amish fiction, Wanda E. Brunstetter takes readers on a journey in 1850 along the California Trail.

Only the brave—or foolhardy—would attempt a cross-country journey late in the season. Three wagons meet up in Independence, Missouri, in April 1850, and their owners decide to keep forging ahead despite many setbacks and delays. December finds them in the Sierra Nevada Mountains when a sudden snowstorm traps them, obscuring the trail.

Cynthia Cooper is traveling with her mother and the man she has promised to marry. But as Christmas is upon them and they are hunkered down in a small cabin, she is forced to reevaluate her reasons for planning to marry fellow-traveler Walter Prentice. When a widowed father heading to a California ranch and a gold prospector both show an interest in Cynthia, she weighs her dreams for marriage alongside her responsibility to care for her mother. Can love win over her timid heart?

Cynthia is a richly drawn character and comes to life through the pages of the story.  Walter was a well written, but not really endearing character!  I like him a lot less as the story moved on.  

There is a real eye to detail and historical perspective in the book that I greatly appreciated.  You felt like you were along in the journey.  I enjoy this time period in American History. 

With twists and turns, faith, hope, and Christmas magic this is such a fun and satisfying novella.  So pick up your copy today and enjoy a great Christmas 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.*

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Rose and the Briar (Faraway Castle #3) by J.M. Stengl

Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved fairy tales.  She grew up but her love of the stories never ended.  She has passed her love onto her children.  Her youngest lives off the original stories in the Blue Fairy Book.  

Her oldest loves retellings and has been reading every night with mama
The Rose and the Briar is book 3 in the Faraway Castle Series.  From the back:  Power-hungry princes are Rosa's greatest dread.

Deep within the gardens of Faraway Castle sleeps a secret Rosa the gardener has sworn to protect with her life--the legendary princess Zafira. For three years she has hidden the princess almost in plain sight. But two nosy princes threaten to undo the work of a century.

When asked to take his sister's old job as Faraway Castle's Magical-Creature Controller, Prince Briar leaps at the chance to disguise himself as a commoner, earn a place in the magical world, and be trained by the mysterious Gamekeeper. Nothing works out the way he'd expected, and he is far too busy working to gain Rosa's trust to bother about uncovering her secrets. 

Until dashing Prince Javier of Evora pursues Rosa . . . and Briar suspects the rival prince of dark motives. Can Rosa and Briar learn to trust each other soon enough to prevent a magical disaster? 

Will the kiss of a prince really awaken true love? 

These have truly been great stories.  Not only are they just the right amount of the things I love (princes, magic, romance), they also keep an 11 year old boy involved (magical creatures, mayhem, bad guys).  There is an art and balance in doing that and these books deliver.  From Pookahs to Princes there was something that we both loved in the book.  

Rosa is a complex woman and Zafira is, in the words of my son "a creep".  She really oozes evil even in her coma like state.  Rosa hates caring for her and feels inferior to her.  Rosa has great magic and brings gardens to life.  

When Prince Briar shows up to train under the Gamekeeper Rosa tries to avoid him like a bad case of poison ivy.  Their playful banter was fun to read and they kept you guessing what would happen next. 

Add in a few villains, plot twists, and a giant bear topiary who reminded us of Pooh both my son and I enjoyed our visit to Faraway Castle.  The book comes out this month.  So pick up your copy of The Rose and the Briar and get ready to discover the next chapter in this enchanted destination.  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.*

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A Wells Landing Christmas by Amy Lillard

Sometimes everything lines up and you get the best of both worlds.  I had a chance to get to visit my favorite fictional town, Wells Landing AND it's written during my favorite time of year Christmas!!!  YAY!!!!  

So come with me and let's take a visit to a place where there is a story on every corner and a community of faith and fun.  


From the back:   As the most joyous of seasons comes to the Amish community of Wells Landing, Oklahoma, one young woman gets a chance to start again--and rediscover the gift of true love . . . 

Families rejoicing together, caroling parties full of cheer, and church get-togethers brimming with delicious cooking and warm fellowship. Ivy Weaver would give anything to be a part of Christmas in Wells Landing. But one reckless mistake made her an outsider, and it's all she can do now to tend to her ailing grandfather and make a living. She sure doesn't need Zeb Brenneman returning to help after he abandoned her for no reason. He's working hard to make amends, but Ivy isn't sure there's enough faith--or still-sparking love between them--to stir her forgiveness...

Zeb knows leaving Ivy was the biggest mistake he's ever made. Even though she won't hear him out, he's determined to prove he's become the trustworthy, steadfast man she truly deserves. But bright new chances and surprising revelations will give him and Ivy choices they never imagined. And finding their way back to each other will be the most 
challenging--and precious--Christmas gift of all . . .

Every book in this series gets better and better.  I come back to this series over and over again because I really love it.  Lillard brings the characters of this community to life.  Ivy is someone who I can see myself spending time with.  I feel for her as she goes through so much. 

Zeb and Ivy both have to go through the path to forgiveness and finding each other again.  Can they see that the unique people in their lives as pointing them in the right direction or will they continue to hurt?  Will they be drawn together or torn apart? 

A beautiful story of faith, forgiveness, family and Christmas this is one story you don't want to miss.  So take a trip to Wells Landing and enjoy another great book in this series.  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, August 24, 2018

The Hope Jar by Wanda Brunstetter (The Prayer Jars series Book 1)

I really enjoy unique Amish Fiction that stands out. I was excited to get a copy of Wanda Brunstetter's brand new book which looked like it was going to take me for a wild buggy ride.  
From the back:  A Brand-New 3-Book Series from New York Times Bestselling Author Wanda E. Brunstetter.


What happens when making an elderly Amish couple very happy means going along with a lie that gets bigger by the day?

Michelle Taylor is not who her new family in Lancaster County believes her to be. The Lapps were looking for their long-lost granddaughter when they met Michelle and she assumed the identity of Sara Murray. Once homeless and hopeless, Michelle has come to love her new Amish friends and even considers the idea of romance among them.

Finding an old blue jar in the barn that is filled with slips of paper containing thoughts, quotes, and prayers by an unknown author becomes a boost to Michelle’s budding faith— but also convicting. How can she tell the truth without hurting the ones she has truly come to love?

Facing homelessness and an abusive boyfriend this story is a case of mistaken identity.  Michelle longs for a place to belong and people to love and care about her so she slips into a stolen identity.  As time goes on will Michelle confess?  What happens if the real Sara Murray shows up?

I truly enjoyed this story.   Wanda Brunstetter does a great job weaving the twists and turns you come to expect from her stories and characters you end up really relating to.  I spent a lot of time wondering if Michelle would decide to do the right thing or if she was going to get away with her deceit. 

I found the Lapps really wonderful but thought they were a bit too trusting and jumped to conclusions about Michelle.  I found the ending a bit rushed and wanted more.  I can't wait for the second book to get answers to some hanging questions! 

All in all this is a great read and definitely a breath of fresh air in the Amish genre.  So pick up your copy of The Hope Jar and hold on to your bonnet for the wild ride!  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.*

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Lawfully Wanted (The Lawkeepers) by Jenna Brandt

So once in awhile a new book catches my eye and I decide to pick up a new to me writer and try something different.  


Book Description: Levi Emerson and his partner, Clyde Forester, have been undercover for over a year chasing the ring leader of the largest cattle rustling group. After months of pursuit, they are closing in on their target, and looking forward to bagging their bounty. A paid informant has told them the the rustler's next target will be the Larsen Ranch in Rockwood Springs, Texas. When Levi arrives at the ranch, he poses as a cowboy in order to gain employment at the ranch and catch the cattle thief. 

Abigail Larsen is the daughter of one of the largest cattle barons in all of Taylor, County Texas. She has just returned home from finishing school, and her father has plans for her to marry Andy Wilson, a local rancher and recent widower, in an attempt to expand the family's influence in the region. Though she wants to do her father's biding, the rumors of how Andy mistreated his first wife leaves Abigail worried about her future. 

When Levi and Abigail accidently encounter each other on the ranch, the connection is instant, but they both know a relationship between them can never be due to their circumstances. Yet, as the couple continue to spend time together through various circumstances, the connection only deepens. 

Will Levi catch his wanted thief and collect his bounty? Will he tell Abigail the truth about who he is? And will Abigail choose to go against her father in order to be with the man she wants? Find out if these two star-crossed lovers can find a way to be together in this epic 1880s historical romance.

This was a nice quick and easy read.  Abagail has been in Boston at school and when she returns is pushed into a marriage.  I felt sorry for Abagail and was cheering her on throughout the story as she looks to God's plan in her life.  

Levi was a great character as well and he becomes drawn to Abigail.  Both share a strong faith and the tie that brings them together.  It was a well written love story and I truly enjoyed it.  

Will Levi and Abagail be able to overcome the barriers surrounding them?  Will Abagail be able to forgive Levi when she finds out he deceived her or will she be stuck in an arranged marriage?  Pick up your copy of Lawfully Wanted and find out!  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, July 23, 2018

A Love for Leah by Amy Lillard (Amish of Pontotoc Book #2)

I'm always super excited when I get a new book from one of my favorite writers.  So when this gem showed up I couldn't wait to dive into it!  


YAY!!  Leah gets a turn at her own story this go around.  From the back:  For the Amish of Pontotoc, Mississippi, faith can open minds—and hearts—to create surprising bonds for a lifetime . . .

Independent-minded Leah Gingerich has always been outspoken. And even though she is now a progressive Mennonite, she's rediscovering the joys of family traditions back in her Amish hometown. Yet she can't help but clash with her handsome new Amish neighbor, Jamie Stoltzfus. He's too hard-headed and old-line to see that his traumatized young nephew, Peter, needs faith and help—or that a woman who stands up to him may be what he needs to heal . . .

After a devastating tragedy, Jamie moved to Pontotoc with his nephew for a fresh start. Holding fast to his beliefs is the only way he feels he can aid Peter—and himself. But somehow, Leah's freethinking ways and feisty challenges are sparking a happiness he's never felt before. Soon, Jamie can't imagine his life without her. But are their differences ultimately too great to overcome—or can love bridge their way to a future together? 

So first things first.  You need to read the first book, A Home For Hannah.  Think of it like this, you can go to a nice restaurant and get just a steak and be fine.  But isn't it much better to get the potato, salad, bread and dessert?  Some book series are like that.  You can just read this book and be fine, but to really understand and to have closer connections to what's going on you need to start at the beginning.  

I loved Leah.  Amy Lillard makes characters that come to life.  They have flaws and you find yourself drawn deeply into her worlds that she creates.  You find yourself connecting with her characters as well and caring for them.  I felt deeply for Peter and Jamie as well.  

There were a few places where I did want to bonk both Leah and Jamie.  They do argue quite a bit and that made me nuts.  The ending was a little too fast as well.  Maybe an epilogue to tie things together would have helped some?  

Will Leah and Jamie find what they are looking for?  Will they trust in God to lead them in the right direction?  Pick up your copy of A Love for Leah 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.*

Monday, June 25, 2018

Kappy King and the Pickle Caper (An Amish Mystery #2) by Amy Lillard

I have a confession to make.  I normally hate mysteries.  Like nails on a chalkboard.  My mom lovingly passed on her Nancy Drews to me and I lovingly shoved them in a drawer.  So usually I decline mysteries when offered but when I was offered a chance to review Amy Lillard's first Kappy King book I was intrigued, because I DO love Amish books.  

I don't know what magic pixie dust was in Kappy's story but I was hooked.  Now Kappy is back again!  

Kathryn "Kappy" King is happy being a plain-spoken unmarried odd-woman-out in her Pennsylvania Amish hometown. Her talent is making the special kapps local women use to cover their hair. But her skill at uncovering trouble in this quiet valley is about to be truly tested . . .


At first, young Sally June Esh's tragic death doesn't look like murder. Even in peaceful Blue Sky, collisions between buggies and Englisch cars aren't unheard of. Still, the Eshes are skilled drivers used to delivering their popular pickles for miles around. And after Kappy notices Sally's buggy was deliberately run off the road, her ex-Amish friend Edie gets strange texts saying the crash was no accident . . .

Kappy won't let her community's silence keep justice from being done. And even though a still-shunned Edie thinks of moving back to the city, she and Kappy start rooting out secrets about the Eshes' long-time neighbors--and new pickle-producing rivals. But when they learn that Sally's brother is secretly courting an Englisch girl, their investigation takes a disturbing turn . . . 

You need to read book one, Kappy King and the Puppy Caper before you read this one.  You will miss a lot of references back to the first story.  It's also a really fun read and a great start to the series.  

Kappy and Edie are just plain fun!  No pun intended.  Kappy marches to the beat of her own drum and together they are magic.  This book is a really fun light read and Amy Lillard shows her versatility in being able to write a cozy mysteries as well as great fiction.  

With humor, twists and turns, and guessing who done it until the end (I guessed totally wrong), this is one mystery that won't end up in my drawer or yours.  So pick up your copy and enjoy a dill-lightful 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.*