Monday, April 24, 2017
The Beloved Hope Chest is the fourth and final book in Amy Clipston's Amish Heirloom Series, and I have to say it's my favorite. All parents keep secrets from their children, usually to protect them. Sometimes though, sharing our pasts and our secrets can bring healing and understanding during tough times.
Mattie Fisher has a past she'd like to keep hidden, mainly because it's so painful to think about. The Amish marry for life and sometimes life is cut short by tragic circumstances. Mattie loved her first husband, Isaiah Petersheim, with all her heart. They had big plans and dreams that were cut short by a visit to the bank. Isaiah was trying to protect a woman from her estranged husband who showed up at the bank waving a gun. The man shot Isaiah when trying to shoot his wife. Just like that Mattie's life and the life of her unborn child changed forever. She walked around in a haze of grief trying to make sense of such a senseless tragedy and trying to figure out how to make it on her own.
Leroy Fisher is Mattie's best friend and has admired her secretly from afar for as long as anyone can remember. Well, maybe not so secretly because everyone,except for Mattie, seems to know how he feels about her, even her parents. Leroy was happy for Mattie when she met and married Isaiah. Leroy and Mattie have remained close even though she's married and starting a family of her own. When tragedy strikes it only makes sense that Leroy steps up and is Mattie's shoulder to cry on. She helped him when his dad left and his mother died and he vows to be there for Mattie and help anyway he can. When he proposes to Mattie and tells her that he will love her unborn child as his own, nobody is surprised. Will they be able to make a marriage work born out of tragedy or is this union doomed from the start?
I don't normally cry when reading books. Sure I boo hoo through movies, but not books. However, this story had me in tears. Poor Mattie has endured more heartbreak and tragedy than most people twice her age. Not only has she lost the love of her life, but she's struggling with wanting to be a proper wife for Leroy. When her child is born and complications arise it is more than Mattie can handle. I don't blame her for running away. Life gets tough sometimes and we all want to run away. I loved how helpful and supportive her family was, no, they didn't fully understand what she's going through but they loved on her and prayed for her while gently nudging her in the way she should go.
Leroy was my favorite. He was determined to love Mattie even when she didn't want him too. He loved her as a kid, loved her as a grieving widow and now as his bride. He knows she needs time to grieve and he's determined to give it to her. He's super excited about the baby and already loves him or her as his own. He knows it's not easy on Mattie, but he's doing everything in his power to make her life easier, even helping with domestic chores. When she leaves him shortly after giving birth Leroy is crushed, but he's determined to win her back. To show her how much he loves her and wants a family with her.
The Beloved Hope Chest is a beautifully written love story that will make you laugh, cry and believe in the power of love.
* I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.
You can grab a copy here:The Beloved Hope Chest
About the Book
Book: A Plain Widow
Author: Diane Craver
Genre: Amish romance
Release Date: March 10, 2017
Molly Ebersol’s life changes in a few minutes when an arsonist torches their barn. Her husband, Caleb, rushes inside the burning barn to save his horses. Although Amish firefighter, Jonathan Mast, tries to save Caleb, he fails. Suddenly Molly becomes a widow.
A month later, an anonymous person gives money to cover the lumber and food expenses for the barn raising. One late night more money is left for Molly on the porch. The fire investigator wonders if the arsonist feels guilt about Caleb’s death and is responsible for the money gifts.
During the continued investigation, it’s learned that Caleb had secrets he kept from Molly. She is crushed by what Caleb did before meeting her. How could the love of her life kept his English past from her?
Her new neighbor, Jonathan, helps her to make the difficult transition from wife to widow. Although Molly develops feelings for Jonathan, can she ever trust him to be truthful to her? She isn’t sure she can fall in love again. Her trust in relationships is shattered because of Caleb’s past actions.
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book! Molly has had a rough go of it, not only losing her husband but also being pregnant with her second child. She struggles to make sense of his death and find her place in the community. I like that while the author allows the characters to have drama in their lives the overall theme of the book isn't overly dramatic. The main theme is love and forgiveness. We have to trust God with the details of our life and trust His plan.
Jonathan is the new guy in town so to speak. He's the one who pulls Molly's husband out of the burning barn. He feels sorry for her and what she's endured. He wants to help anyway he can to ease the burden. Along the way he falls in love with Molly and wants to marry her and raise her children. I have to say I loved how their love unfolded but I wish the story would have taken a little longer but that's just me being selfish. The author did a wonderful job of telling their story and I liked how even though Jonathan knew early on that Molly was the one for him, he waited months to tell her and even then told her he would give her all the time she needed until she was ready to move on.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I believe you will too!
*I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.
About the Author
Diane grew up on a farm outside Findlay, Ohio, and she often acted out characters from herown stories in the backyard. In high school she would read during classes and hide a novel in front of her in a propped up textbook. After Diane graduated from the Ohio State University, she became a schoolteacher and play director.
She met her husband while teaching at an orphanage, and they married three years later. Diane says that it took her that long to convince him she was the one for him! While raising their family in southwestern Ohio, she started writing nonfiction and was published. Later, Diane decided it would be a nice escape to write fiction. They were blessed with five daughters and one son. Two daughters were born with Down syndrome and live at home. Their other children live close by. Diane has four adorable grandchildren. Her favorite vacation is going to the beach with the whole family.
Non-fiction articles of Diane’s have been published in Woman’s World Weekly, The Catholic Telegraph, Virtue, Down Syndrome Today, WritersWeekly.com, and other publications. Several of Diane’s books have been a reviewer’s top pick from Night Owl Reviews as well as receiving 5 star reviews and A Joyful Break (Dreams of Plain Daughters) received the CTRR Reviewer’s Recommend Award from Coffee Time Romance and More.
Diane gives thanks daily to God for all her blessings.
Guest Post from Diane Craver
Back in 2012, when I told our adult children I had written my first Amish book, they looked surprised. In the past I had written contemporary Christian romance, but I had never mentioned anything about researching the Amish faith for my future books. My great-grandfather was a Mennonite minister, but I never knew him. My mother shared stories about his faith and his strictness in raising children. With many similarities between my great-grandfather’s faith and the Amish beliefs, I was drawn to learn more about the Plain life.
Another influence came from my father. While growing up in Findlay, Ohio, my father respected and enjoyed talking with the Amish from Kenton, Ohio. As a farmer, he used both work horses (something he had in common with his Amish acquaintances) and a tractor. In my book, A PLAIN WIDOW, my character, Jonathan Mast, is from Kenton. Unfortunately, my children never knew my father, but they learned how precious he was to me from reading my book, A GIFT FOREVER.
Now several books later, I am still writing Amish fiction. I feel blessed that God directed me on this writing path. A wonderful aspect of writing in this genre is finding Amish recipes to prepare in my kitchen. One of my favorite recipes is also my character Molly’s specialty in my new release. This Amish recipe is an easy bread to make and takes around twenty minutes to prepare.
Delicious Amish Cinnamon Bread
(Makes 2 loaves)
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 cups buttermilk or 2 cups milk plus 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Cream together butter, 2 cups of sugar, and eggs. Add milk, flour, and baking soda. Put 1/2 of batter (or a little less) into greased loaf pans. (Basically pour 1/4 of the total batter into each pan.)
Mix in separate bowl the 2/3 cup of sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle 3/4 of cinnamon mixture on top of the 1/2 batter in each pan. Add remaining batter to pans; sprinkle with last of cinnamon topping. Swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 min. Or until toothpick tester is clean.
Cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing from pan.
April 20: Bibliophile Reviews
April 20: Lighthouse Academy
April 21: A Reader’s Brain
April 21: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
April 22: cherylbbookblog
April 23: Donna’s Bookshelf
April 24: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner
April 25: Pause for Tales
April 25: Bigreadersite
April 26: Moments Dipped in Ink
April 27: A Baker’s Perspective
April 28: Christian Bookaholic
April 29: Just Commonly
April 30: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
April 30: A Greater Yes
May 1: Splashes of Joy
May 2: Karen Sue Hadley
May 2: my site/autism mom
May 3: A Simply Enchanted Life
To celebrate her tour, Diane is giving away:
GRAND PRIZE: Diane is giving away a set of the Dream of Plain Daughters Series (4 book series) and a $20 Amazon gift card. If the winner is outside of the US, ebooks will be substituted.
RUNNER-UP: A copy of AMISH BABY SNATCHED, the first book in The Bishop’s Daughters Series and a $10 Amazon gift card.
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b54a
Saturday, April 15, 2017
About the Book
Author: Elaine Manders
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Release Date: December 28, 2016
The fight never ends until someone surrenders.
Having vanquished his political enemies, Rhyan Cason is anxious to get home to his beloved Carianne. Then he receives word an anthrax outbreak threatens his ranch. Even as he ponders how he can afford to take a wife, dark secrets from the distant past shake his beliefs to the core and convince him he’ll never be able to find forgiveness or make Carianne happy.
Carianne Barlow is stunned when Rhyan breaks their secret engagement. She leaves Sollano, the beautiful ranch house she loves almost as much as its owner, and returns home to Westerfield. While waiting for her shattered heart to heal, she shifts her attention to building the library she’s promised the town.
Even though Colt Holliman offers her a new courtship, circumstances keep drawing her back to Sollano and Rhyan. Torn between her affection for Colt and her love for Rhyan, Carianne realizes almost too late Rhyan’s troubles lie deeper than saving the ranch. He fights an evil that threatens more than his love for her—one only God can defeat.
My Thoughts: Sometimes you pick up a book to read and from the first page it grabs you and won't let go, this is one of those books. I enjoyed how the characters were flawed yet real. Rhyan has pretty much everything a guy could ever want, except a relationship with the Lord. He knows in order for Carianne and him to be able to marry he must be a believer. I like how he didn't let that sway him though. He knew if he was going to have a relationship it had to be true and on his terms, not just for Carianne.
Carianne basically knew she loved Rhyan from the first time she laid eyes on him but she's made a promise to herself, she refuses to marry an unbeliever. I like how she loved him in spite of himself. She could've beat him over the head with verses or pointed out his many flaws, yet that's not what she does, she asks him questions designed to make him think deeper thoughts than he would on his own. She also lives out her faith by using her means, int his case her money, to provide for the town and for individuals in need. She's not desperate for a husband. Don't get me wrong she loves Rhyan and has every intention of marrying him but she's not going to sit around pining after him.
All in all I truly enjoyed Surrendered and believe you will too! I can't wait for the next book in the series to see if Rhyan ever finds his mom and to see if Colt finds himself a wife.
*I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.
About the Author
Elaine Manders writes wholesome Christian romance and suspense about the bold, capable women of history and the strong, dependable men who love them. She prefers stories that twist and turn and surprise, told by characters who aren’t afraid to show their love for God and each other. She lives in Central Georgia with a happy bichon-poodle mix. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, crafts, and spending time with her friends, daughter, and grandchildren.
Guest Post from Elaine Manders
I was born with the gift of story. The make-believe of childhood never left me, but it wasn’t until my daughter left for college, and I was left with the empty nest, that I decided maybe it was time to start writing the stories crowding my mind. I joined a local writers’ group, took a fiction writing course, developed the craft, went to conventions, and started pitching to editors.
Since I wrote romance, I found the publishing industry pushing me to a place I didn’t want to go. The secular publishers wanted steamier writing, and I complied as much as I could. Then when I was offered a chance for publication, I couldn’t allow my name to go on the book. The Christian publishers had a very narrow marketing concept. Again, I tried to comply until I felt the joy of story being squeezed out of me. I took a twelve year hiatus from writing.
Then in 2012, I was sitting in church listening to the familiar parable of the talents. When my pastor asked the question, “Are you hiding your talent?” I immediately visualized that closet filled with my unpublished manuscripts. I rededicated myself to putting my talent to use, and I asked God to send me a new story, if this was what he wanted me to do.
Later that week, I was on the golf course when I laid down on a little hill waiting for my husband to chase a ball in the woods and stared into the deepest, bluest sky I’ve ever seen. The sun was high in the sky, but the shade of blue was so dark I could actually see, not only the moon, but some of the stars. Looking into that sky, I experienced a strange sensation, as if I’d lost contact with the earth and was moving into infinity. I wondered, as I had many times before, how an atheist could look into the heavens and not believe in the Creator. This led me to an investigation of scientific atheism, Darwinism, and the entire series, Intrigue under Western Skies, was born. My protagonist is a Darwinist of the 1880s. Book 1, Pursued, is his spiritual journey to belief in Christianity, and Book 2, Surrendered, takes him to acceptance. The heroine, of course, helps him on this journey, while dodging all the dangers the old west has to offer. Incidentally, Pursued will be free on Amazon Apr 18-19.
April 11: 100 pages per hour
April 11: Karen Sue Hadley
April 12: History, Mystery & Faith
April 13: Moments Dipped in Ink
April 14: Bigreadersite
April 15: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner
April 16: Daysong Reflections
April 17: cherylbbookblog
April 17: Baker Kella
April 18: I Hope You Dance
April 19: Inklings and Notions
April 20: Reading Is My SuperPower
April 21: Pause for Tales
April 21: Have A Wonderful Day
April 22: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
April 23: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
April 24: Connie’s History Classroom
To celebrate her tour, Elaine is giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b5ae
Monday, April 10, 2017
If you haven't read a novel by Jessica Patch you are missing out! Final Verdict is my first novel by Ms. Patch, but she is definitely on my favorite writer list! She has a way of capturing your attention from the first page and not letting go until the story is over. I stayed up way past my bedtime trying to figure it all out, seriously it is THAT good.
Aurora Daniels isn't a bad person, yet she feels that way sometimes. Defending those that others deem guilty isn't for the weak at heart. People get mad, make threats but sometimes those threats become reality. When she defended Austin Bledsoe for instance, she knew he had done wrong by drinking and driving and killing someone, but she didn't believe that it should cost him the rest of his life. He's a kid and he made a poor choice of judgement. He has great remorse and she believes he deserves a second chance. Of course, this makes her very unpopular to the town and the victim's family who believe the only justice is seeing Austin Bledsoe spend the rest of his life behind bars. When an anonymous man makes a threat from somewhere in the crowd Aurora shakes it off, until her car gets keyed, a whisky bottle comes through her window and she can't help but feel she's being stalked. Still, she's reluctant to rely on anybody for help. For all she knows they could be the ones after her.
Beckett Marsh is a stand up guy although a bit intimidating. He and Aurora often find themselves on the opposite side of the law. He arrests them, she sets them free, but as a citizen of Hope he feels it is his duty to protect her. A duty he takes very seriously. He knows she has had trouble before, it comes with being good at her job, but this time it's personal. He decides to become her personal bodyguard and chauffeur until they can figure out who exactly is after her. With her job it could be any number of people or it could be someone related to her brother's case. She's determined to prove his innocence but in order to do that she will have to prove someone else guilty.
I have to admit I'm leery of intrigue novels. I have a vivid imagination and if a novel goes too into detail I will stay awake for days. I wasn't too worried with this being a love inspired mystery though and was eager to get started. I have to admit I was wrong about my preconceived notions of this book. I figured about halfway through that I would have figured out who did it or at least have it narrowed down to the two main suspects. Ms. Patch threw me for a loop, not only did I not have a clue who did it, I had way too many suspects! She kept me guessing until the very end!
I love that Aurora loved her brother so much that even after he died she still championed his case to prove him innocent. That's also the reason she became a defense attorney. She wanted to give others who might not have had one a fighting chance. Everyone deserves a second chance, right? I loved her caring and kind nature, how she wasn't afraid to stand up for what she believed in but would also admit when she was wrong A true heroine in my book.
Then there's Beckett Marsh. He appears to be a hard case on the outside but on the inside, he's a momma's boy. He's had trauma in his life, his fiancee was killed just yards from where he was staying and he couldn't get to her in time. He carries that pain around with him. Maybe that's why he appears rough and grouchy all the time. Maybe that's why he can't seem to call Aurora anything other than counselor, if he called her buy her name he may begin to see her as something other than the enemy and that wouldn't be good. Not good at all.
The Final Verdict is a perfect blend of intrigue, drama and love. You will get so wrapped up in the story that you will forget Beckett and Aurora are just characters and not real people. I absolutely enjoyed Final Verdict and can't wait to get my hands on Jessica Patch's next book!
*I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.
You can grab a copy here:Final Verdict