Thursday, July 12, 2018

"Firestorm" by Laura V. Hilton - Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway

About the Book

Title: FirestormFires Storm
Author: Laura Hilton
Genre: Christian Amish
Release Date: July, 2018
Bridget Behr and her family migrate from the bustling Amish community where she grew up in Ohio to the mostly unpopulated Upper Peninsula of Michigan after a stalker breaks into their home. While her father and brother try to find work in the area, the family is forced to reside in a borrowed RV until the house and barn are rebuilt. While Bridget is hoping for a fresh start, she’s afraid to trust anyone—even Gabriel, the overly-friendly Amish man who lives nearby. Bridget thinks he’s a flirt who serial dates and doesn’t even remember the girls’ names.
Due to not enough construction work in his Florida community to keep him out of trouble, Gabriel Lapp has been sent to Michigan to work. His father is desperate for his son to settle down. When the family walks into Gabe’s home in the middle of a thunderstorm and he discovers their circumstances, he offers to help with construction. For Gabe, the beautiful girl he teasingly calls “the recluse” once he discovers she doesn’t attend youth events, confuses him like none other.
As Gabriel and Bridget grow closer, they realize there is more to a person than meets the eye. Just as Bridget is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding love, tragedy strikes. Now Bridget and her family must decide if they should move to another Amish community, or dare to fight for the future they’d hoped for in Mackinac County.

My Thoughts
"Firestorm" is the first book in the "The Amish of Mackinac County" but there is a slight tie in with the last group of books that she wrote. The reason why Bridget's family moves to the Upper Peninsula having an overlap with the other books. I liked Gabe and his personality. I thought it was funny how he came up with nicknames for everyone because he couldn't remember their names. There was a nice faith element and characters grew in their walk with God. My mouth watered at the mention of them having pasties. I have never liked being called a "troll" for living in the Lower Peninsula, since we do not live under the bridge (who wants to live in the Straits?). I look forward to reading more books in this series.

About the Author

Laura pictureLaura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with over twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write.
Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.
When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.

Guest Post from Laura Hilton

I read a series of books a year or so ago by another Amish author who had set her books in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. As a Michigan native, I was curious, and I researched, but found nothing about Upper Peninsula Amish except a notation that one had tried and failed. So I contacted the author. She told me that she’d never been there, and her research had all been hearsay, so with that lack of firsthand knowledge and no trip to the Upper Peninsula planned, no trip to see for myself would be possible. At least at that time.
Then God intervened. My son who is in the United States Coast Guard was stationed in the Upper Peninsula this past summer (2017.) He saw the Amish driving around in their buggies. And he felt like a stalker as he followed one to see where he went and drove through the area. He even sent pictures. (Shhhh.)
Yes, there are Amish in the Upper Peninsula – at least at the time this book was written.
Okay, as a Michigan native, I used some terms that may not be familiar to non-Michiganders. A Yooper is someone who lives in the Upper Peninsula. A Troll is someone from the Lower Peninsula. A pastie is kind of like a Hot Pocket, except it’s a meat pie made with root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and rutabagas. They are so good. And the straits are the area of the Great Lakes connecting Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
As for the wildfire, the earliest wildfire I could find any documentation on in the Upper Peninsula was in April. It is generally a snowy area — trust me. I lived near the Muskegon area and saw snow drifts in May. We sometimes had over six feet of snow on the ground at one time. So, to get the wildfire when I wanted/needed the wildfire I used artistic license. Yes, fires really happened in Michigan’s history. Just not in the month mentioned in the book.
firestorm 1
I am attaching a meme about Michigan seasons. We’ll call the fire set in “fool’s spring.” My son got married during the “third winter” this year. April 21 and there’s snow on the ground. He and his beautiful bride got married at a water fall (Tahquomenon Falls) very near where the story is set.
Firestorm 2

Thanks for reading Firestorm!!

Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, July 10
The Avid Reader, July 12
Among the Reads, July 14
Pause for Tales, July 20
amandainpa, July 21
Bigreadersite, July 21


To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away
Grand prize: Firefighter Puppet 9 (Melissa & Doug), Copies of Amish Firefighter and Firestorm by Laura Hilton.
First place prize of “I Love You to the Cross & Back” Mug (Gardenfire) & Firestorm by Laura Hilton!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

"Firestorm" is available in paperback:
  • Series: The Amish of Mackinac County (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Whitaker House (July 10, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1641230312
  • ISBN-13: 978-1641230315
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8.2 inches

and in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 2637 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Whitaker House (July 10, 2018)
  • Publication Date: July 10, 2018
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B074W65Y2T

I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

"Made Like Martha" by Katie M. Reid - Book Review and Giveaway

About the book  

An invitation for overachievers to discover what it means to rest as God's daughters without compromising their God-given design as doers.

Though she didn't sit at Jesus's feet like her sister Mary, biblical Martha was loved just as she was--and you are too. This practical resource invites modern-day Marthas to sit down spiritually as they exchange try-hard striving for hope-filled freedom without abandoning their doer's heart in the process. Doers need to be affirmed in their innate design to do rather than sit, yet also be reminded that they don't have to overdo it in order to be worthy. This book is not an exhortation to add or subtract things off your to-do list, but it is an invitation to embrace the "good" of the Good News. Here is an offer to step into your position as a daughter of God and to enjoy life as a doer.

My Thoughts
I have always felt bad for Martha in the Bible for trying to serve Jesus and having to do all the work when her sister Mary just sits and enjoys Jesus's company, and then she gets reprimanded! I am very much a Martha and always felt like I needed to somehow change or pretend to be a Mary since "that was the better thing". I heard about the opportunity to be on the launch team for a book that sounded exactly like one I NEEDED to read--"Made Like Martha" by Katie M. Reid. I was so excited to crack open the pages and read. It was so helpful to know that God didn't WANT me to change, I just needed to watch my motivations for what I was doing. I need to remember that in and of myself, I am not sufficient or capable, but God is my sufficiency. I can do all things through Him. 

I do not like not having control over what is going on in my life. I like to have things planned out and orderly so I know what to expect. During the period of time I was reading the book, I was heading to church and someone pulled out in front of me and I crashed into them. The damage looked negligible other than the air bags had deployed. We found out we weren't covered by insurance. We went on a roller coaster ride of "we will fix it, we can't fix it" and back again. We also had plans to go camping in the middle of July and without a vehicle large enough, we could not do that. When we finally had the car being fixed, I was sure that plan was still in place, but then they aren't going to get it done in time and my plans get thrown off again.  I had to cling to the principles I had learned in the book and realize that "even if our what-if happens, the good news does not change. Jesus is enough, even in the dark, even in the battle, even among flames." (page 23.) I have always been a worrier. If my husband is later home from work than normal, I fret over what the delay is. The worry snowballs and my gut churns. I know all the verses about not worrying, but I needed a better approach. "Made Like Martha" gave me that approach...Starve worry by feasting on worship. When I'd find myself getting anxious, I'd start singing. Usually "Amazing Grace" or the chorus to "Trusting Jesus, That is All". Sometimes it would take a little bit, but the knots of tension would start to relax and my focus would be on God and not my problem. 

Being from the same state as Katie M. Reid made it fun for me to find little glimpses and antidotes from my area. It really made me relate to the book even more. She uses climbing Sleeping Bear Dunes as an example in the book and I KNEW exactly what that was like having climbed them last summer. I'm not someone who likes to write in books, but I have a notebook where I've copied down many passages from this book that especially spoke to me and put sticky note flags by parts of the book for easy reference. "Made Like Martha" is definitely a book I will come back to again and again. 

At the end of each chapter, there is a section about a "Modern Day Martha" and an "It is Finished" task to do. At the back of the book, there is also a five lesson Bible Study. This book would be awesome for a Book Club or a Sunday School class/small group. 

About the Author
Katie M. Reid is an author, speaker, and singer who encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life at Her first book, Made Like Martha: Good News for the Woman Who Gets Things Done, will release on July 10, 2018 (published by WaterBrook). Katie's writing style is transparent, poetic, and reflective. She has published articles through: Focus on the Family, HuffPost, MOPS, LifeLines, iBelieve, and LightWorkers and is a contributor in Tales of Our Lives: Reflection Pond and the Five Minute Friday book. Her album, Echoes of My Heart, is also available for purchase. Katie delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Hot or iced tea and cut-to-the-chase conversations are a few of her favorite things.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

"Made Like Martha" is available in paperback:
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook (July 10, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735291268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735291263
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 9 inches

and in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 7340 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook (July 10, 2018)
  • Publication Date: July 10, 2018
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B076GR5YM9

I got a free advance reader copy of this book as part of the launch team. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review. 

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway: "Just Let Go" by Courtney Walsh

About the Book

Just Let Go
Title: Just Let Go
Author: Courtney Walsh
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance
For Quinn Collins, buying the flower shop in downtown Harbor Pointe fulfills a childhood dream, but also gives her the chance to stick it to her mom, who owned the store before skipping town twenty years ago and never looking back. Completing much-needed renovations, however, while also competing for a prestigious flower competition with her mother as the head judge, soon has Quinn in over her head. Not that she’d ever ask for help.
Luckily, she may not need to. Quinn’s father and his meddling friends find the perfect solution in notorious Olympic skier Grady Benson, who had only planned on passing through the old-fashioned lakeside town. But when a heated confrontation leads to property damage, helping Quinn as a community-service sentence seems like the quickest way out—and the best way to avoid more negative press.
Quinn finds Grady reckless and entitled; he thinks she’s uptight and too regimented. Yet as the two begin to hammer and saw, Quinn sees glimpses of the vulnerability behind the bravado, and Grady learns from her passion and determination, qualities he seems to have lost along the way. But when a well-intentioned omission has devastating consequences, Grady finds himself cast out of town—and Quinn’s life—possibly forever. Forced to face the hurt holding her back, Quinn must finally let go or risk missing out on the adventure of a lifetime.
My Thoughts
I have heard of Courtney Walsh before, but I have never read any of her books before. I will definitely be reading more of her books in the future! The book was very well written and made me feel like I was part of the story. I was drawn into Grady and Quinn's story and wanted to do nothing but read until it was done. They were both flawed and hurting people, but learned and grew through the story. I liked them both very much. The fact that the book is set in my home state of Michigan was cool and it even mentioned my birth town. I didn't realize until I was posting my review that "Just Let Go" was the 2nd book in the series. I read the blurb about the first book and the couple from that book do make appearances in this book, but I did not feel like anything was missing or not understandable by not reading it first (that said, I would have read the first book first, just because I like to read series starting from the beginning).

About the Author

Courtney WalshCourtney Walsh is a novelist, artist, theatre director, and playwright. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, hit the New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller lists and was a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. She has written two more books in the Sweethaven series, as well as two craft books and several full-length musicals. Courtney lives in Illinois with her husband and three children. Visit her online at

Blog Stops

By The Book, June 26
Among the Reads, June 27
Splashes of Joy, June 27
God is Love, June 28
Genesis 5020, June 28
Carpe Diem, June 29
Radiant Light, June 30
Quiet Quilter, July 1
C Jane Read, July 1
Baker kella, July 2
Remembrancy, July 3
amandainpa, July 3
Vicky Sluiter, July 5
Bigreadersite, July 8


To celebrate her tour, Courtney Walsh is giving away a grand prize of a library of Courtney Walsh’s books and a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

"Just Let Go" is available in paperback:
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (June 5, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1496421523
  • ISBN-13: 978-1496421524
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.1 x 8.1 inches

and in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 8049 KB
  • Print Length: 381 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1496421523
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (June 5, 2018)
  • Publication Date: June 5, 2018
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English

I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway: "Minding the Light" by Suzanne Woods Fisher

About the Book

Book Title: Minding the Light
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre: Historical Romance
Release date: July 3, 2018
FIsher_MindingtheLight(2)Six long years ago, Captain Reynolds Macy sailed away from his bride, looking forward to the day when he would return to Nantucket Island with a ship’s hold full of whale oil. But when that momentous day finally arrives, Ren soon discovers that everything has changed in his absence. Everything. “Is nothing on this island as it appears to be?” he whispers in despair.
Unlike most islanders, bold and spirited Daphne Coffin doesn’t defer to Ren as an authoritative whalemaster, but sees through his aloofness to the aching heart beneath. She encourages him to return to his Quaker roots and “mind the Light,” finding solace in God and community. As Ren becomes the man she believes him to be–honorable, wise, faithful–she finds herself falling in love with him.
But how can she, when her heart is spoken for? Tristram Macy is Ren’s business partner, cousin, and best friend–and Daphne’s fiancĂ©. Love always comes at a cost, but when is the price too high?
Suzanne Woods Fisher welcomes readers back to the Quaker community on Nantucket Island for this riveting love story, full of unexpected moments.

My Thoughts
"Minding the Light" is the 2nd book in the Nantucket Legacy series. The main characters from this book are descendants of people we met in the first book. It is helpful if you read the books in order, but I think it would be possible to read this one without having first read the other book. We get to read more of the diary of "Great Mary". I figured out the "secrets" of the story early on, but still enjoyed reading the story and being back in whaling era Nantucket. I felt the faith thread of the story was light and not focused on a lot. I look forward to reading the next book in the story and getting to visit with Henry and Hitty again. 

About the Author

suzanne woods fisherCarol-award winner Suzanne Woods Fisher writes untold stories about inspiring people. With over one million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction, ranging from Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World to the historical novel Anna’s Crossing.

Guest Post from Suzanne

8 Curious Facts you Probably Didn’t Know about Nantucket Island
This beautiful island, thirty miles off Cape Cod, is steeped in history. Here are just a few interesting reasons to add a visit to Nantucket to your bucket list.
1) During the first half of the nineteenth century, Nantucket was considered to be the wealthiest port in the world…all because of whale oil.
2) Petticoat Row is a 19th century nickname for a portion of Centre Street between Main Street and Broad Street. Many shops on Nantucket were run by women while the men were off to sea in whaling ships for years at a time. Quakerism, with its emphasis on equality, provided working women with community respect, value and esteem. The next time you’re visiting Nantucket, be sure to stop by the Petticoat Row Bakery for a morning glory muffin.
3) The use of laudanum (opium) was described by a visiting French as prevalent among the women of Nantucket. Loyal Nantucketers vehemently denied his claim. However, in the 1980s, construction workers digging to Nantucket’s sewer lines found heaps of opium bottles buried in the ground.
For centuries, laudanum was considered to be not only harmless but beneficial. Its very name in Latin is landare, which means to praise. Other names for it: Mother’s Helper (to sedate children), Sea Calm (for seasickness). It was used for all kinds of ailments, from sleeplessness to menstrual cramps to treatment of chronic pain, and available without prescription up until the twentieth century, when it was found to be highly addictive.
4) Nantucket Cent Schools were a carryover from England and the cost was exactly what the name implied. In New England they were kept by refined, thrifty women who often taught their own or their neighbors’ children until they were old enough to enter schools of a higher grade. I came across a story of a boy whose mother stuck a penny in his mouth each day so that he would remember to pay the teacher.
5) Moby Dick, written by Herman Melville in 1851, was based on a true-life event that occurred in 1820 to the Nantucket whaleship Essex and her crew. You can find out more about this ill-fated voyage if you visit Nantucket’s awesome whaling museum.
6) Speaking of…the whaling museum on Nantucket Island is called the Peter Foulger Whaling Museum. Peter Foulger was one of the early settlers to the island, and could be considered a Renaissance Man: inventor, surveyor, teacher, missionary to the Wampanoag Indians. And his grandson was none other than Benjamin Franklin.
7) Nantucketers were, for the most part, related to each other in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. The prosperous island was settled by a small group of families, with less than a dozen surnames: Coffin, Macy, Starbuck, Bunker, Hussey, Gardner, Mayhew, Swain, Barnard, Coleman, Worth, Mitchell. Those names are still common on the island.
8) There’s a good reason those surnames sound familiar to you—many of those early settlers had descendants who started business empires. Recognize these? Macy (retailer) and Folger (coffee).

Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, July 3
Livin Lit, July 3
Mary Hake, July 7
Simple Harvest Reads, July 8 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Book by Book, July 9
Splashes of Joy, July 10
Vicky Sluiter, July 11
Among the Reads, July 12
Bigreadersite, July 15
Pause for Tales, July 16


To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a $10 Starbucks gift card to five winners!!
Be sure to leave a comment on one of the blog stops for 9 extra entries into the giveaway. Click link below to enter.
"Minding the Light" is available in paperback:
  • Series: Nantucket Legacy (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (July 3, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800721632
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800721633
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches

and in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 9587 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (July 3, 2018)
  • Publication Date: July 3, 2018
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B07931TXQD

I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review.