Thursday, October 20, 2016

Book Review: "Trust my Heart" by Carol J. Post

Jami Carlisle is back from college and ready to start her job as a journalist. Her first assignment is about the McAllister Estate next door to her own house. She is met with resistance from the new owner, grandson Grant. Will Jami’s dream of a prince charming ever come true and why does Grant fill her thoughts so frequently?

Grant McAllister wants nothing to do with the estate of grandparents that wanted nothing to do with him during their life. He also doesn’t want to deal with the pesky news reporter who is sure to put her own spin on things and cast him in a bad light. Why does he feel more at peace in the nature of Murphy than he has felt in a long time? Does it have to do with Jami?

I enjoyed reading Jami and Grant’s story. They both grew throughout the story and there was a spiritual thread that was woven through as well. After the crisis that threatened Jami and Grant’s relationship, I figured there must be another one coming as there was still over an hour and a half left in the book. As certain events played out, I found myself wanting to yell at Jami to not do what she was doing as I knew what it would lead to and I was right. There were minor side plots going on through the story and I was glad to see how those played out as well.

“Trust My Heart” is available in paperback:
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Waterfall Press (October 25, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1503937690
  • ISBN-13: 978-1503937697
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches

and in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 1268 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Waterfall Press (October 25, 2016)
  • Publication Date: October 25, 2016
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01FM7DQ1A

I received a free copy of this book which I voluntarily reviewed. All thoughts and opinions are my own and no compensation was received.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Book Review: "Avalanche" by Gayla K. Hiss

About the book: When Park Ranger Jenny Snowfeather runs into Deputy Marshal Chase Matthews at her brother's Fourth of July barbecue, she suspects there is more going on in Eagle Valley, WA than fireworks. After Chase confides that he believes the fugitive who killed his partner may be hiding out in the area, Jenny is skeptical at first. But when her peaceful town is besieged with a sudden crime spree, she realizes Chase's theory may be true.

As the manhunt advances to the rugged backcountry of North Cascades National Park, Jenny is confronted with her past mistakes. But she soon discovers the greatest threat of all is losing her heart to Chase, who is obsessed with capturing the fugitive at all costs.

Risking everything to help Chase find the man who could kill them both, Jenny's faith is put to the test. Like an avalanche waiting to happen, their path is fraught with danger. Will the enemy get away with murder? Will Jenny and Chase reach freedom and safety, or be buried alive? They must tread carefully. One step in the wrong direction could mean the difference between life and death.

My Thoughts: This book had almost non stop action. The story kept me engaged and on the edge of my seat to see what was going to happen next. There were so many twists and turns in the mystery that I did not know what to expect until it unfolded before me. The action continued right up to the end of the book, too. The romance, mystery, action, and Biblical threads are all woven seamlessly  throughout the whole book. Jenny was struggling with her faith after her father's death, but still held strongly to her desire to only marry someone who shares her faith. Chase knows a lot about God, but hasn't come to grips how much he needs Him in his life. I enjoyed watching their spiritual journeys. The descriptions of the Cascade Mountains made me feel as if I were right there seeing it. I'm glad to know that this book is book one of a series, so there will be more books coming from Gayla Hiss!

"Avalanche" is due out in February 2017
298 pages
Expected publication: February 1st 2017 by Mountain Brook Ink
ISBN13  9781943959174
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in order to give my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and no other compensation was received

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Book Review, Tour, and Giveaway: "The Honeybee Sisters Cookbook" by Jennifer Beckstrand, Tearsa Daines, & Alicia Johnson

About the Books

The Honeybee Sisters Cookbook Cover 1
Click here to purchase.

A collection of delicious honey recipes from the Honeybee Sisters book series, featuring quotes and recipes from Sweet as Honey, A Bee in her Bonnet, and Like a Bee to Honey–Amish romances by Jennifer Beckstrand.
Lily, Poppy, and Rose Christner, known as the Honeybee Sisters in their Amish community, are smart, inseparable, and all grown up. Orphaned when they were very young, the girls were raised by their eccentric Aunt Bitsy, who doesn’t behave like a proper Amish spinster. The Honeybee Sisters have blossomed into rare beauties, and the boys in the community have begun to take notice. But Aunt Bitsy is determined to scare off all comers with her brusque manner and her handy shotgun. None but the most worthy will make it past Bitsy’s defenses. It’s going to be a rowdy and romantic summer–harvesting honey from their many beehives and fighting off the boys right and left.
Note from Aunt Bitsy: When my girls told me they wanted to write a cookbook, I wasn’t too keen on the idea. Food attracts boys like honey attracts bees. I warned them that if they didn’t want the boys hanging around the house, they shouldn’t make the cakes and pies and cookies that are sure to bring them running. My nieces didn’t seem to be alarmed about the prospect of boys all over the place, so I suppose they’ll have to learn the hard way.
My problem is that smart, feisty, pretty girls attract boys even better than honey does. So even if my girls stopped cooking altogether, I have a sneaking suspicion that the boys would still find excuses to come over.
Some of the recipes in this book, like Honey Glazed Pretzels and Whole Wheat Bread, are very traditional Amish dishes. Others, like Salmon Tacos and Coconut Lime Chicken, are less traditional but still wunderbarr. I lived as an Englischer for twenty years before coming back to the Amish to raise my three nieces, and as a dental hygienist, I collected a lot of recipes.
Here’s my final warning: Boys are like stray cats. If you feed them, they’ll keep coming back. Buy this cookbook at your own risk.

About the Author

jennifer Beckstrand 1Jennifer Beckstrand is the bestselling Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer was nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award and the 2015 RITA® Award, and Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for Inspirational fiction. Both Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Christmas appeared in list of top ten inspirational books for 2014.
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. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a background in editing. She and her husband have been married for thirty years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and four adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

Guest Post from Jennifer Beckstrand

Nothing brings family and friends together like a home-cooked meal. When I think of Amish food and cooking, I think of the way my mother used to cook and the way her mother cooked before her.
Both my parents grew up on farms, and hard work was a way of life. So were homemade meals and food that stuck to your ribs and gave you fuel for a hard day’s work in the fields. Cooking was more of an art than a burden, a way to sustain life, but also a labor of love for your family, day in and day out.
I joke with my husband that I have forgotten how to cook now that we’re empty nesters and I’d rather eat cold cereal than fire up the stove, but creating a nutritious meal for my family or baking a delicious dessert still brings me satisfaction and is a gift of the heart to my loved ones.
The Honeybee Sisters Cookbook began to take shape when I came up with the idea for a series about three sisters who keep bees and make delicious honey treats. In the Honeybee Sisters Cookbook, you’ll find some traditional Amish favorites as well as some not-so-Amish dishes—recipes that Aendi Bitsy collected from her years living with the Englisch. The pages are filled with mouth-watering photos, and I’ve included quotes from the Honeybee Sisters books. I hope you enjoy trying out the recipes as much as we enjoyed creating them for you.
My father in-law, who was also raised on a farm, passed away very recently. His mother made him a bowl of oatmeal every morning, which he hated, and it would be waiting for him after school if he didn’t eat it at breakfast. In honor of him, I would like to share a rhubarb recipe. Rhubarb was one of his favorite treats.
This recipe is authentically Amish from my friend Priscilla Stoltzfus in Pennsylvania.
Rhubarb Upside-down Cake
Mix together:
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 cups rhubarb, diced
Pour rhubarb mixture into an 8×8 pan.
 Mix together:
¼ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
Pour the flour mixture over rhubarb mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Turn upside-down on a plate to serve. Serve warm, if you wish.
My Thoughts I really enjoyed all the quotes from the books in the Honeybee Sisters series. (I actually looked through the cookbook before reading the series, and still enjoyed the quotes) As would be expected from a cookbook from Aendi Bitsy, all the recipes include honey. There are many types of recipes (main dishes, salads, breads, & treats) I decided to try the "Bee's Knees Corn Dogs". One thing I changed was that the recipe said to cut the hotdogs in half and stick a lollipop stick into them. I cut my hotdogs into 3rds and left off the stick. We used the leftover batter to make donut holes. 


Reactions: Everyone liked the corndogs and said they tasted "like normal". The donut holes were an even bigger hit. 
There are many recipes that look like they would be good and I think we'll be trying some more out in the future.

Blog Stops

September 20: Smiling Book Reviews
September 20: Book Babble
September 22: Reading Is My SuperPower
September 23: Books,Dreams,Life
September 24: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
September 25: Bibliophile Reviews
September 26: Simple Harvest Reads
September 27: A Baker’s Perspective
September 28: Blogging With Carol
September 29: Bukwurmzzz
September 29: Donna’s BookShelf
September 30: Through the Open Window
September 30: cherylbbookblog
October 3: Quiet Quilter


To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away one set of The Honeybee Sisters Series! Click here to enter:
"The Honeybee Sisters Cookbook" is available in hardcover
  • Hardcover: 68 pages
  • Publisher: Jennifer Beckstrand Publishing (July 9, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0997699302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0997699302
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.3 x 8 inches

I received a free digital copy of this book for me to give an honest review during the Celebrate Lit blog tour. All thoughts and opinions are my own and no other compensation was received.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Month in Review: September

  • Backlogged reviews 0
  • Days exercised 10 (my knees were starting to hurt so bad, I had to take a break)
  • Bible read 28
  • Clay dolls sculpted 2
  • Hats knit 0
  • Words written 1200
  • Cross bookmarks tatted 0
  • Thursday, September 29, 2016

    Book Review: "Mattie's Pledge" by Jan Drexler

    Mattie Schrock is excited to be heading west with her family, even more so because Jacob Yoder will be joining them and he has always held a special place in her heart. But they have both changed a lot in the years since they've seen each other. Will what they share be enough to satisfy her for the rest of her life when she yearns to see more of the world?

    "Mattie's Pledge" by Jan Drexler is the 2nd book in the 'Journey to Pleasant Prairie" series. I did not read the first book in the series, but did not feel completely lost about what was happening. Since the 1st book is about Hannah Yoder, and she and her family members feature in this book, it would probably been nice to have read it first, though. Mainly told from the viewpoints of Mattie Schrock and Jacob Yoder, there are also parts told from the viewpoints of Johanna Hertzler, Andrew Bontrager, and Cole Bates, with a short section from both Annalise Yoder and Christian Yoder. Besides the main story line following Mattie and what she was going to choose to do, there was also secondary threads that follow the other characters as well. I did not find the story to be cluttered with all that was going on, though, and enjoyed watching the characters interacting. The Biblical thread is also woven seamlessly into the story and it was nice to see characters grow although Jacob's aloofness towards the children didn't seem totally wrapped up as well as some of the other issues. I am glad to see that Naomi's story is next and can't wait to read it.

    "Mattie's Pledge" is available in paperback:
    • Series: Journey to Pleasant Prairie (Book 2)
    • Paperback: 384 pages
    • Publisher: Revell (September 20, 2016)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 080072657X
    • ISBN-13: 978-0800726577
    • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 4563 KB
    • Print Length: 385 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 080072657X
    • Publisher: Revell (September 20, 2016)
    • Publication Date: September 20, 2016
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English

    I was given a free copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

    Book Review, Tour, and Giveaway: "A Lady Unrivaled" by Roseanna M White

    About the Book

    Click to purchase
    Amid the Unforgettable Cotswolds, the Final Grasp for the Fire Eyes Diamonds Could Threaten Them All
    Lady Ella Myerston can always find a reason to smile–even if it’s just in hope that tomorrow will be better than today. All her life everyone has tried to protect her from the realities of the world, but Ella knows very well how the dangerous Fire Eyes diamonds have haunted her brother and their friends, and she won’t wait for it to strike again. She intends to take action . . . and if that happens to involve an adventurous trip to the Cotswolds, then so much the better.
    Lord James Cayton has already broken two hearts, including that of his first wife, who died before he could convince himself to love her. Now he’s determined to live a better life . . . but that proves complicated when old acquaintances pull Cayton into their desperate attempt to seize the jewels. He does his best to remove the intriguing Lady Ella from danger, but the stubborn girl won’t budge. How else can he redeem himself, though, but by saving her–and his daughter–from those intent to destroy them all?
    My Thoughts
    "A Lady Unrivaled" is the third and final book in the "Ladies of the Manor" series. I had read the second one, but not the first one. I felt like I was missing parts of the story this time around not having read the first book. I didn't feel that way so much while I read the second book. I definitely will go back and read the first book to fill in the gaps! I really liked "A Lady Unrivaled" and kept picturing it as a mini series. Ella is so cheerful and fun and such the perfect person for Cayton who is not so cheerful. Their dialogue was fun and so well written, it felt like I was eavesdropping on someone's conversation. Addie was adorable and  her interactions with both Ella and Cayton were great. I found myself wanting to read faster so I could know what was going to happen, but not wanting to miss any of the details. The characters grew and came to know God better and to trust His leading. This book has romance, mystery, and more. I highly recommend the series.
    About the Author
    Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to Edwardian British romances. She makes her home in the breathtaking mountains of West Virginia. You can learn more about her and her stories at

    Guest Post from Roseanna White

    So Very Ella
    Back in 2008, I went to my first writers conference, where I met my current best friend and critique partner. I’d been pitching the first book in a series I was rewriting from my childhood, so this was the first project of mine our newly formed critique group did together. Specifically, the third book in the series, which I was then calling Diamond Blaze.
    It was about a girl very much like me. Optimistic in the extreme. Always looking for a reason to smile. Her name was Lady Ella Myerston, and though she was the heroine in the third novel in a series—friend to heroine from book 1 and sister of hero in book 2—Ella stood on her own. Or I hoped she did. You see, it’s not very often I try to write a character so much like me, and I wasn’t sure what my new critique partners would think.
    I was delighted and relieved when my critters, as I call them, loved her—it felt a little like them loving me😉 With Stephanie, that BFF/critique partner, Ella became part of our language. “That’s so Ella” meant “that’s so hopefully and optimistic.” It’s a phrase we used for years, long after that series got shelved and we focused on other projects.
    When I finally sold a rewrite of the first book to Bethany House and The Lost Heiress released last September, I was so excited to get to breathe new life into the other books in the series as well. I gave some new twists and turns to Brice’s and Rowena’s story in The Reluctant Duchess, took it to new depths, but it was still largely the story I’d first written seven years before.
    Ella’s story, though . . . we eventually settled on the title A Lady Unrivaled, but it was the hardest one in the series for us to name. And writing! Ella’s story didn’t work anymore as I’d had it. I had to toss out the entire thing and start fresh, with a new premise and new plot. But Ella—Ella had to remain Ella. I learned more about her as I rewrote the series, of course, and I added a few things not like me, naturally. But Ella still seeks a reason to smile, always. She still believes in hope, in every situation. And her knack for misplacing things—herself included—might be borrowed (and exaggerated) from my remarkable ability to lose things that I sat down right there two minutes ago.
    Ella got new adventures, new goals, new excitement in her life—but she’s still the Ella I got to know all those years ago. And her hero, Cayton, is still the sometimes surly, too-realistic, very different-from-Ella man he has to be to counteract her.
    My editor, in her notes to me, said, “Cayton and Ella are so very different. In a way, you wonder how they’ll make it work. And yet you can’t help think they will, and want them to.”
    The love story in this book is partly mine, too. Because though on the surface my husband isn’t much like Cayton, in the ways that matters, he is. He’s my opposite, but my perfect complement. He doesn’t always see the bright side I cling to, but he’d never ask me not to cling on anyway. We view the world very differently—and can face it because we’re together.
    I love all my books, all my characters. But A Lady Unrivaled . . . well, it’s just so very Ella. I hope you love it just a fraction as much as I do!

    Blog Stops

    September 22: 100 pages per hour
    September 22: Smiling Book Reviews
    September 23: Book by Book
    September 23: Bibliophile Reviews
    September 24: bigreadersite
    September 24: Jeanette’s Thoughts
    September 25: The Power of Words
    September 25: Pause for Tales
    September 26: Reading Is My SuperPower
    September 26: Faithfully Bookish
    September 27: Back Porch Reads
    September 28: cherylbbookblog
    September 28: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
    September 29: Blossoms and Blessings
    September 29: Heidi Reads…
    September 30: The Scribbler
    September 30: Karen’s Krayons
    October 3: Colonial Quills
    October 3: Blogging With Carol
    October 5: Books and Beverages


    I’m giving away a complete set of the Ladies of the Manor Series PLUS a special surprise straight from England! (US addresses only for paperbacks; an international winner is eligible for digital gifts, though!)
    "A Lady Unrivaled" is available in paperback:
    • Series: Ladies of the Manor
    • Paperback: 416 pages
    • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (September 13, 2016)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0764213520
    • ISBN-13: 978-0764213526
    • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.3 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 4173 KB
    • Print Length: 416 pages
    • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (September 13, 2016)
    • Publication Date: September 13, 2016
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B01JSOXP32

    I received a free copy of this book to participate in the Celebrate Lit blog tour and give my honest opinion. All thoughts and opinions are my own and no other compensation was received.

    Sunday, September 25, 2016

    Book Review: "A Christmas Homecoming" by Kimberly Rose Johnson

    Bailey Calderwood does everything she can to assist Mona Belafonte, even move into Mona's home to care for her after she has a stroke.

    For some reason, Mona decides she needs a new assistant and asks her son Stephen to find a replacement for her. The more time he spends with Bailey, however, the more he wants to spend time with her. How can he mend the rift without upsetting either woman?

    "A Christmas Homecoming" is the 2nd in the Sunriver Dreams series, so it was fun to see some of the characters from "A Love to Treasure". I was glad for Bailey to realize that she was a worthy person and not just an "ugly stepsister" and how she stood up for herself by the end. I liked Stephen and his desire to honor his mother but to get to the bottom of what was going on so he could date Bailey. Besides the romance, there was also a little bit of mystery about the secret admirer and the car (which I was thinking there would be since the first one had a mystery, too). I wanted to sit on the couch and watch the fire with Stephen and Bailey (okay, maybe on the chair in the room with them...don't want to get between their budding romance!) 

    "A Christmas Homecoming" is available in paperback:
    • Series: Sunriver Dreams
    • Paperback: 202 pages
    • Publisher: Mountain Brook Ink (September 23, 2016)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1943959129
    • ISBN-13: 978-1943959129
    • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 3975 KB
    • Print Length: 178 pages
    • Publisher: Mountain Brook Ink (September 26, 2016)
    • Publication Date: September 26, 2016
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B01JFJTL9W

    I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and no other compensation was received.