Monday, July 31, 2017

Summer Bucket List

Asking a book nerd to make a summer bucket list (reading list) can be a dangerous thing! It sounded like fun so I decided to give it a try. I've included four books that I want to read most. I have more, but these are the ones that are on the top of my list. Do you have a summer bucket list? If so, please share it below!

I have to admit I'm super excited to read this one! First of all, I love all the authors included. Second, I've read the others in the series and I couldn't put them down. They are always fun and I feel like I make a new friend every time. If you haven't had a chance to read the others, no worries! You can start with this one and read the others later. 

If you haven't noticed I'm a sucker for a sweet romance. I have read several of Ms. Hunter's books and never have I ever been disappointed. She crafts stories that pull on your heartstrings, but will also make you laugh. I think this one is going to do both. A couple that thinks they're divorced and can't stand the sight of each other, suddenly find out they're still married! Throw in an epic snow storm where both get stranded together and you have a the makings of a great story. This is definitely on the TBR (to be read :) ) pile.

Okay, so technically it's two books but they're in the same series so I'm going to let it count. As most of you know Ms. Chapman writes Amish stories, but what you may not know, and I didn't either until recently, is that she writes a dystopian series! I read the prequel, which is free on the kindle, and I couldn't put it down. It was so good that I was telling my husband about it, he's not a book nerd, and even he wanted to read it! 

This one looks like it's going to be a page turner! Faith has been raised Amish. She's a good girl and follows all the rules and by all accounts loves her life. Something happens to make her question whether she is really Amish and are her parents really her parents, this throws her entire life in turmoil. I can't wait to see how things turn out for Faith! 

I've enjoyed sharing my summer bucket list with you! I hope you have found a book or two that sparks your interest. If you know of a good book I should try please share it below! I'm always looking for something new to read. 

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. 

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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:

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!

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