Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Letter From Lancaster County

About the book:
Two sisters get a second chance at life and love.

Angela---Her mother's untimely death, a struggling marriage, a strained relationship with her sister, Rose, and regrets over what might have been haunt her. Despite being a wife and mother, she feels she has little to show for her life.

Rose---Still single, she longs for a husband and children. But Angela has all that and she isn't happy. Rose wants to be closer to her older sister, but she and Angela couldn't be more different. Both strong women, will their sibling rivalry ever end?
When a letter arrives from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Angela and Rose decide to visit Aunt Silvia, their mother's Mennonite sister, in the heart of Amish country. This vacation could provide the opportunity both sisters need to sort out their issues. And yet instead of finding a new way of connecting with each other, Angela and Rose discover surprising family secrets that add to their strife and threaten Rose's romance with a new Beau.

Through it all, the two sisters must find the faith necessary to face their personal problems and allow God to restore hope and healing to their heats as only He can.

Out of the two sisters, my least favorite was Angela. She seemed to find fault in everyone and everything. She's wealthy and has a world of options and opportunities, yet she whines and complains about how her husband doesn't pay her attention and her kids don't seem to want her around. I felt like she could have been stronger, stood up for herself and made her concerns known. She did, eventually, but it was after her visit with Aunt Silvia. Maybe she just needed a little bit of encouragement and understanding to gather her strength to make a change. 

Rose has had more than her fair share of disappointment and I probably related to her the most. From a young child she has felt "less than" her sister, less pretty, less popular, you name it and she was the least favorite.  An incident in high school has scarred her for life, so much so she never shared it with her closest family. She carries a heavy burden and doubts even God can help her. She prayed for him to heal her mother from her illness and when he didn't she figured he wouldn't care about a nobody like her. With Aunt Silvia's kind encouragement, Rose starts to believe that maybe something good can happen to her. Maybe she deserves a second chance, not only at life and love, but at a relationship with her sister. 

I was beyond happy this book had a happy ending! For a while I was sure Rose and Angela would kill each other leaving Aunt Silvia to clean up the mess! Relationships are messy, especially ones with family, but if A Letter From Lancaster County teaches us anything, it's we have to try. I was proud of both Rose and Angela for all they overcame, they're flawed but ultimately wanted what was best for each other. I should warn you, this is no lighthearted read, it will tug on your heart strings and make you think about relationships you have in your own life. That being said, I enjoyed the book and believe you will too.  I hope you give A Letter From Lancaster County a try. If you do, come back and let me know what you think!

* I received a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own. 

Here's what others are saying: http://litfusegroup.com/author/KLloyd

About the Author:
Kate Lloyd is a bestselling novelist whose books include "A Portrait of Marguerite" and the Legacy of Lancaster trilogy. A native of Baltimore, she enjoys spending time with friends and family in rural Pennsylvania and is a member of the Lancaster County Mennonite Historical Society. She now resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband. 

Find out more about Kate at:  http://katelloyd.com

Sunday, July 16, 2017

My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho

About the book: Looking forward to a quiet life and a full stomach, mail-order bride Rebecca Rice is pleased to marry her shopkeeper intended, Mr.Fordham, until the justice of the peace calls him Thaddeus, not Theodore--preceded by the title Deputy. When the newlyweds realize they've married the wrong partners with similar names, an annulment seems in order--and fast, since Rebecca's true intended is impatient to claim her as his own, not to mention Rebecca would never marry a lawman like her father. But when the legalities take longer than expected, Rebecca wonders if Tad wasn't the right husband for her all along....

I have never read one of Suzanne Dietze's books until now and I have been missing out! She has a way of crafting a story that leaves the reader wanting more. Her characters are complex, yet ones her readers can relate to. I love the show I Love Lucy and this book reminded me of that show It is full of wit and humor but it also has it's serious moments. I believe you will truly enjoy your trip to Ruby City I know I did!

Rebecca knows what it's like to be without. Her dad was a lawman, killed in the line of duty, one of her brothers died in the war and the other left to go out west and mine without so much as a backwards glance. She was tired of being at the mercy of others so it made sense to answer a marriage ad in the paper. Her journey was long and not without it's trials as her coach was held up by the gang of four before reached Ruby City. Yet, Rebecca has faith that God has called her to marry Mr. Fordham and she can't wait to belong to a family again!

I admired Rebecca's gumption. To make the decision to marry a total stranger in order to make a life for herself. Sure they exchanged letters but that's not enough to truly know someone. She had backbone and fire, she had to to survive all she did and then the gang of four. She even pulled a knife on one of her attackers! Even though she's had more than her fair share of hardships, Rebecca refuses to allow it to make her bitter. She is the first one to extend grace to some of the least desirables in town. The first to rush to someone's aid regardless of who they are or what they've done. I truly admired Rebecca and hope that I can be more like her, quick to help and slow to judge.

Thaddeus Fordham can't believe he married the wrong woman! Not only is she not his Rebecca, his lady spells it Rebekah, but she is Theodore's intended! He and Theo have been at odds ever since they fought to win Dottie's affection. In the end, she chose neither of the cousins but the rift she caused appears to be permanent. All he wants is to do the right thing, get a quick annulment and find his Rebecca. Surely Theo can understand that but when tempers go awry and the gang of four on the loose it appears that the annulment will be anything but simple.

You have to hand it to Thaddeus, I'm not sure I could keep my composure with so many things going wrong at the same time. He is definitely attracted to Rebecca but he is determined to do the right thing and get to annulment so she can be with Theodore, no matter how much it might break his heart. He even goes to great lengths to mend the rift the mishap has caused between Theodore and Rebecca. He's a stand up guy who puts everyone's needs before his own. Maybe it's because of the way Dottie played him and Theodore but he seems determined to do the right thing no matter the cost. He's hard working, driven, and a man of faith, anyone would be lucky to have him but he only wants one woman, and unfortunately she's promised to another.

I truly enjoyed my "trip" to Ruby City and meeting all of it's residents. They were definitely a colorful but loyal bunch. I hope Ms. Dietze continues the series. I'd love to know what happens to the other budding romances in the town.

You can grab yourself a copy here:

* I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Deep Waters

Deep Waters is Jessica Patch's latest installment in her Love Inspired security specialists series and I have to say my favorite so far! I've made it no secret that I generally don't like suspense novels but since finding Mrs. Patch's novels I have to say, I am quickly becoming a fan. She has the uncanny ability to make her characters flawed, yet relate-able, all the while crafting a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat! If you haven't tried a suspense novel or one of Jessica Patch's novels I highly suggest grabbing a copy of Deep Waters and diving in!

Caley Flynn loves everything about sea turtles and she has made it her life's mission to protect these precious creatures. Even though her family has been involved in the military and law enforcement for generations she prefers turtles. They're mild, gentle and as far away from danger as you can get. When Caley discovers an interns body at sea while walking on the beach her whole life is turned upside down. Not only do they not believe Mary Beth's death was an accident it appears everyone around her has something to hide and they will do anything to keep their secrets hidden.

Shepherd Lightman was supposed to be on vacation, he earned it. He had been working non stop for the last few months for Covenant Crisis Management. When his boss, Wilder Flynn, called and said to check on Caley, he did as he was told, even if he didn't like it. It's not that he doesn't like Caley, the opposite is actually true, it's just that he earned this vacation and well, Shepherd doesn't do comfort, he was bounced around from one foster home to the other until he was old enough to be on his own, then he joined the army and the rest they say is history. When Shepherd gets to Caley and hears her side of things he  knows he can kiss his vacation good-bye. There is NO WAY he's going to leave Caley alone with all the trouble that is surrounding them, but will he be the biggest threat of all?

First of all, what can be wrong with a book that surrounds sea turtles? In my opinion nothing. I know that it's a work of fiction but I found myself learning things about sea turtles I never knew before. Mrs. Patch must have gone through a lot of trouble to learn about turtles and  then include that knowledge and facts throughout her book.

Then there is Caley. I totally understood her reason for wanting to do just about anything besides being in the military or law enforcement. Sometimes, you just have to blaze your own trail, so to speak, and it was obvious that she loved what she did. I didn't quite understand her unwillingness to be involved with someone who had a dangerous job however. I mean yes, bad things happen, as obvious with the intern being murdered, but you love who you love and you can't help that. I also loved that even though she was the baby of the family she had moxy. She wasn't afraid to state her opinions and defend someone even if the world thought she was wrong. I felt like Caley and I could be best friends!

Shepherd Lightman is a good man, even if he doesn't quite believe it himself. He has done some bad things in his past, very bad things, but he's given his life to God and he's a different man. Even so, he knows he has no business falling for a lady like Caley Flynn. Maybe if he keeps calling her "Little Flynn" he can convince himself of that. When he sees Caley upset and shaken over the death of her intern, Mary Beth, he knows he will do anything and everything to protect her. He may not be in her league but he is a darn good soldier and nothing will happen to Caley Flynn on his watch.

Can I just say I love Shepherd! I didn't think I would at first with him being so hard on himself, but the way he fiercely protected Caley and was willing to do anything to protect her, I quickly changed my mind. Ha! Shepherd had doubts, I think all of us do, he knew he wasn't "good enough"for God yet he struggled with the fact he was indeed a child of God. He somehow figured if he messed up God would discount him, like the foster families did growing up. I admire Shepherd, he had no dad, grew up in bad foster families, but he chose to rise above all that. Did he make mistakes? Sure, but he grew into a man that anyone can respect and admire. All he wants to do is live a good life and make amends for what he did in his past. Who can't respect that? I'd like to think that we all have a little of Shepherd's gumption in us. When we're in deep waters who or what do we cling to?

I absolutely fell in love with Deep Waters! I couldn't put it down and I can't wait to see what Mrs. Patch has in store for us in her next installment in her security specialist series. So what are you waiting for? Grab you a copy of Deep Waters and get to reading! I just know you will love Shepherd and Caley as much as I do!

You can grab a copy here:Deep Waters

* I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.

Friday, July 7, 2017

His Guilt

His Guilt is the second book in Shelley Shepard Gray's Amish of Hart County series. Even though it can be read as a stand alone I highly recommend reading the series.

Waneta Cain loves her job at Blooms and Berries nursery. She enjoys meeting people and helping them pick out just the right plants and trees for their needs. She has never really given much thought to how she does her job, but with the new guy, Mark, staring a hole in her she's beginning to wonder what he finds so fascinating. Instead of feeling flattered she's beginning to feel like prey. What is this guy's problem?

Mark Fisher can't help but stare at Waneta. She's so open and friendly with everyone else but has barely said two words to him all day. Growing up Mark didn't come from the best home and then as a teenager he was taken in for questioning when a woman was assaulted. Even though he was found innocent some people can't seem to get past the fact he was a suspect in the first place. Surely Waneta couldn't be like them, she has always been so kind and caring, well until now.

His Guilt is a story about love and forgiveness. Do we truly love others or do we hold their past against them? Waneta is forced to ask herself these questions when Mark points out how differently she treats him compared to others. Ashamed of herself, she makes a promise to herself, she is going to give Mark the benefit of the doubt and get to know him better.

Mark feels like the biggest heal. Why can't he just keep his mouth shut? Did he really need to call Waneta out like that? He can't really blame her for thinking the worst of him. I mean, look where he came from but still, he doesn't want her to be afraid to talk him. After Waneta agrees to give him a chance he's hopeful about the future. But when attacks start to happen to other women he wonders if he will ever be able to live in Hart County in peace.

I love all of Shelley Shepard Gray's books. She has a unique way of crafting a story that will touch in you in a way you never expected. I'm typically not a fan of mystery and intrigue but I fell in love with His Guilt. I love that it's a redemptive story. Mark may not have had the best start in life and trouble may follow him where ever he goes, through no fault of his own, but he is determined not to let his past define him. Waneta tries to treat everyone with respect but when Mark pointed out that she was treating him differently because of his past, she had to take a hard look at herself. She chose to practice what she preached, so to speak, and stand up for Mark when nobody else would.

Bad things are happening all around them. Will their budding friendship hold up when once again Mark's past comes back to haunt him? Or will things fall apart and force Mark to leave Hart County for good?

If you're looking for the perfect summer read or if you've never read one of Shelly Shepard Gray's books before I hope you will give His Guilt a try. I believe you will love it as much as I do!

Here's what other's have to say:http://litfusegroup.com/author/SGray

* I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Amish Brides

About the Book

Book: Amish Brides
Author: Jennifer Beckstrand, Molly Jebber, Amy Lillard
Genre: Amish
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Molly Jebber
Madeline Lehman fears her fiancĂ©’s family will never accept her because of her rebellious sister. She’s postponed her wedding to Joshua Stutzman until they see the truth. But when Maddie adopts her sister’s abandoned baby, can she and Joshua find a way to unite their families through forgiveness as well as love?
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed each of the three stories in Amish Brides. Each of the author's brings her own cast of loveable characters. I loved how in each story there was a lesson to be learned. Whether it was learning to move past something tragic in your life, or learning to love again, or maybe that we shouldn't judge a family based on a family member's sins. Once you get started on Amish Brides you will find it hard to put it down. Each story sucks you in and takes you on a ride you won't soon forget. I hope you give it a try, I believe you will enjoy it as much as I did!
* I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own. 

About the Author

Molly Jebber’s books have been featured in Publisher’s Weekly, USA Today’s HEA, and Romantic Times has given them a near excellent rating. She’s on RWA’s Honor Roll. She’s a speaker for Women’s Christian Connection, and she offers presentations on writing, publishing, Amish lifestyle and traditions. She has received widespread media coverage, including live interviews, across the United States for her books and speaking engagements.
She’s just signed a new contract for four more Amish books! She loves interacting with her readers. She loves God, her husband, family and friends. She has a hard time saying no to cupcakes, swimming, nine holes of golf, and walks on the beach. Coconut, oatmeal, and onions, on the other hand, are not hard to say no to!

Guest Post from Molly Jebber

Do you remember picking out your bride’s dress? The cake? Food? Location? The invitations? Weddings are fun, no matter how simple or extravagant. The marked event fills your heart with joy sharing in the special day with the bride and groom. I remember the day I married Ed, my best friend and soulmate. We planned the details together, and we still talk about what a heartwarming memory it is for us. I’m sure if you and I met for a girl’s chat, we’d enjoy hearing each other’s account of when we exchanged vows with our sweethearts.
Amish brides may not have the flowers, rings, and fancy food and cake, but they have their traditions and share in the excitement like we do. I enjoyed writing “Joshua’s Bride”. I hope you enjoy it to.

Blog Stops

June 1: Quiet Quilter
June 2: cherylbbookblog
June 7: A Greater Yes
June 9: Splashes of Joy
June 12: Karen Sue Hadley
June 13: Bigreadersite


To celebrate her tour, Molly 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/b3a7

Friday, May 26, 2017

Interview with Amy

It's no secret that Amy Clipston is one of my favorite authors and an all around sweet heart. So, when she took the time to sit down and do a special mother's day interview I knew I wanted to share it with all of youđź’“ After you finish reading the interview please take a moment to enter the giveaway below!

Do you get any book ideas from your sons' shenanigans? 
I  haven’t really included any of their shenanigans, but I did model a character after Zac. In my young adult book Roadside Assistance, Logan, who is Whitney’s younger brother, was inspired by Zac. Logan likes Star Wars and video games, and his room is decorated similarly to how Zac’s room used to look.
Amy, please share a special "proud mom" moment that you had with each of your boys. I'm thinking of the Scripture that "Mary kept all these things in her heart" and thought there might be something that even Matt and Zac don't know about.
This year each of my boys has moved me to tears because of their loving and giving hearts. I’m not going to use any names in order to protect their privacy.

One of my sons stood up to a bully by defending another boy who was being harassed. When the bully called the victim horrible names, my son walked up to the bully and gave him a piece of his mind. The bully was stunned silent and left the victim alone. I can’t express how proud I am that my child didn’t stand by and allow a bully to hurt another child.

My other son was a blessing to his friend when he needed help. His friend was depressed shared while they were talking online that he was thinking about hurting himself. My son texted the other boy’s mother and told her he was worried about him. When this issue came up again when my son was with his friend, he listened to his friend talk and even cried with him while offering him comfort. I had tears in my eyes when my son shared this with me.

I’m really proud of my sons for helping others in their time of need. I believe my sons will continue to be a blessing to others.
As a mother, what is your prayer for your boys?
My prayer is that they stay healthy and they find a profession they love. I also pray that if they chose to marry, they find someone who is nice and who will treat them with love and respect. I tell them repeatedly that love should never make them feel bad about themselves. I pray with all of my heart that they will be happy.
What was your most favorite book to read to your boys when they were little?
Zac absolutely loved Big Joe’s Trailer Truck by Joe Mathieu! He knew it by heart! It’s the cutest book, and I read it to Matt also. We kept it and will pass it on if they have children.

That concludes my interview with Mrs. Amy. I hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as I have writing it. I want to thank Mrs. Amy for taking the time to share a little about her family and her life. Don't forget to click the link and enter the giveaway below!
                                                              A Rafflecopter Giveaway

Return to Huckleberry Hill

About the Book

Book: Return to Huckleberry Hill
Author: Jennifer Beckstrand
Genre: Inspirational Amish Romance
Release Date: May 30, 2017
When it comes to matchmaking, Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin’s unstoppable octogenarians Anna and Felty Helmuth never seem to run out of opportunities—or grandchildren…
Reuben Helmuth is plenty bitter. John King, his best friend—or so he thought—is engaged to the girl Reuben loved. Humiliated, Reuben flees from Ohio to his grandparents’ home on Huckleberry Hill, where he knows he’ll find comfort. He’s enjoying wallowing in his misery—until John’s sister, Fern, shows up. She won’t stop pestering Reuben about forgiveness—or trying to help him find love again. Yet Fern’s efforts only reawaken Reuben’s long-buried feelings—for her…
With her brother too ashamed to face Reuben, it’s fallen to Fern to help mend fences. But as she and the Helmuths do all they can—even organizing a knitting club event filled with eligible girls—it may take one more challenge to inspire Reuben to forget his heartache, recognize his own blunders, and embrace the true love that’s right in front of him…
My Thoughts: I just love Jennifer Beckstrand novels. Her characters are full of grace, wit, and charisma.  I have truly enjoyed every book in the Huckleberry Hill series and this one was no different! There is a saying, or song lyric, that says, "You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you might find, you get what you need." That was truly the case for Reuben. He has his heart set on the Bishop's daughter and when things don't go according to plan he believes his whole life is over. He refuses to see what is right in front of his face. I loved Reuben because I see some of myself in him. I'm so busy telling God my plans and my wants and desires I sometimes miss the blessings right in front of my face. Reuben has known Fern his whole life but he treats her like a kid sister. He always puts her needs before his own and whether he admits it or not he truly likes the fact she holds her own and calls him out when he is wrong. He doesn't ever think he could care for her as more than a pesky so-called sibling but is he wrong?
Fern has spent her whole life chasing Reuben and her brother John around. She had a crush on Reuben when she was younger but she now sees him as a brother. When he runs off to nurse a broken heart, Fern sees it as her mission to help him heal and bring him home. Even if that means making a bigger pest of herself than usual. As she spends more time with Reuben can her feelings turn into something more than friendship?  I really liked Fern!! She was so feisty and while all the other girls were falling all over themselves in front of Reuben, he could always count on her to keep him humble. She wasn't rude, contrary to what Reuben would have you believe, she was truly concerned for his well being and wanted him to be happy. 
I feel like the residents of Huckleberry Hill are friends. I hate when I come to the end of the book because I feel like I have to leave them and I can't wait to get back! I hope you will give Return to Huckleberry Hill a try. I know you will love it as much as I do. 
*I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own. 

About the Author

Jennifer Beckstrand is the award winning Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hillseries and The Honeybee Sisters series for Kensington Books. Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth and the Honeybee sisters’ aendi Bitsy. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a passion for Jane Austen and Shakespeare. She and her husband have been married for thirty-two years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and soon-to-be six adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

Guest post from Jennifer Beckstrand

Anna Helmuth is starting a knitting club, but that’s not all she’s got up her sleeve.

In Return to Huckleberry Hill, Anna Helmuth and Fern King decide to start a knitting club in order to introduce Anna’s grandson Reuben to some girls from Bonduel, Wisconsin. Anna is a very good knitter, with years of practice making baby blankets, scarves, mittens, and potholders. One of Anna’s scarves actually saved someone’s life, and her potholders have helped her make many a match.
When I was a young teenager, I learned how to knit and crochet. My mom taught me how to sew and quilt, and I made several of my own                                                                                                    My family. I have five sisters and no brothers. I                                                                                                                               think my mom made every dress in this photo,                                                                                                                                  including her own.
dresses in high school. I never learned to love sewing, but it was an invaluable skill that I am so grateful to have. Now that I’m a little older, I love putting together simple quilts for baby gifts and making quilts for the local children’s hospital. There is nothing like a homemade gift to say, “I care about you.”
I have a friend who is a wonderful cook. Making a delicious, beautiful meal is how she tells her family she loves them. I don’t consider myself a great cook, but I still take pride in putting something nutritious and satisfying on the table for my family.
It seems to me that some of the “home arts” that our mothers and grandmothers practiced are dying out. Who knows how to tat anymore? Or embroider? Some of these arts have died because of expediency. Who doesn’t think today’s stocking choices are more comfortable and practical than knitted wool ones? Others have died out because so few people want to learn.
What about you? Do you still practice any of the home arts that your grandmother did? What do you want to pass on to the next generation?

Blog Stops

May 23: cherylbbookblog
May 24: A Greater Yes
May 25: Just Commonly
May 30: Quiet Quilter
May 31: Bigreadersite
June 2: Pause for Tales

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a $15 Amazon gift card to three lucky winners!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b3b2