Before and Again by Barbara Delinksy

before

Pages: 416 (eBook)

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: June 26, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Let me start off with this statement: You will be thinking “what if that had been me” the entire time you are reading. It will make you think about your own distracted driving and letting your kids have their privacy with their own electronics.

Maggie Reid used to be Mackenzie Cooper in another life. Maggie, as everyone knows her in her small Vermont town, lives a quiet but fulfilled life. She works at the local spa as a makeup artist and lives with her two cats and dog on the outskirts of town. No one knows her past, that is until closet friend’s son is arrested for computer hacking. As Maggie becomes the stability her friend needs her own life starts spiraling out of control. Will she be able to keep her past in the past?

I am still thinking about this book days after I have finished. We all know the dangers of looking at our smartphones while driving. What we don’t always think about is what could happen to our lives if we cause a serious accident while doing so. We don’t think about the legal implications that could stem from the accident. We don’t think about the guilt that would eat us up from the inside outside. We don’t think how it would affect our family, close and extended. Maggie makes you think about all those things.

Barbara Delinsky is one of the greatest women’s fiction writers out there and this is the perfect summer read to pick up as you leave for vacation. Beware as you read you will not hear anything around you and you may forget you are cooking dinner.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Kappy King and the Pickle Kaper (An Amish Mystery #2) by Amy Lillard

kappy

Pages: 352 (eBook)

Publisher: Kensington Books

Published: June 26, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Kappy King had been living a quiet life on the edges of her Amish faith until Edie returned home to care for her special needs brother. Since then Kappy and Edie have been in the midst of murder investigations. This time it involves a young Amish girl who was killed in an auto accident delivering pickles to the store. Can Kappy and Edie find the killer before angering everyone in the town?

This is the second book in The Amish Mystery series from Amy Lillard and it is a treat to read. Each book reads as a stand alone but you get a lot of the back story in the first book, Kappy King and the Puppy Caper. Each book is a clean read with a light romance in the background. I would have no problems letting a teenager into mysteries read these books.

Edie is ex-Amish and is hilarious in her outfits. She is a great friend for Kappy in that she makes Kappy come out of her shell and be apart of the community. Kappy is a great friend for Edie in that she makes Edie think about her life decisions. You could not have two better friends for each other.

Grab yourself some pickles (white church pickles or green) and go to town reading about the latest adventures for Kappy King.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington Books through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland

lost

Pages: 368 (eBook)

Publisher: St. Martins Press

Published: June 19, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Loveday’s life has been hard since she was a child and to survive she found her solace in books. She’s carried that love into her adult life by tattooing her favorite first lines of books on her body and by working in a bookstore. When books start showing up in the store from her childhood she becomes terrified that someone has learned of her past. Is it time to share her heartbreaking past or run?

At first I could not get into the book and then all the sudden I could not put it down. It grows on you and then becomes a part of you. Loveday is a character that we can all relate to in someway whether the loss of parents in our youth or feeling like we do not fit in anywhere except between the pages of a book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from St. Marten’s Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

The Hawaiian Discovery by Wanda Brunstetter and Jean Brunstetter

hawaiian

Pages: 256 (eBook)

Publisher: Shiloh Run Press

Published: June 5, 2018

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

Ellen and Mandy’s friendship has endured so much from being stranded in Hawaii together, Mandy’s marriage and move back to Hawaii with her husband. An unfortunate accident in Hawaii had Ellen flying over to be with her friend and help where help is needed. While in Hawaii she befriends Rob who has a terrible secret in his past. Will Ellen be making a life altering decision soon?

What a sweet treat to visit Hawaii with Ellen and Mandy again. Even with the terrible accident that has occurred as you read you feel yourself relaxing and letting all your troubles and cares melt away. The description the Hawaiian beauty around them makes me wish I could visit and befriend Ellen and Mandy.

This is a sequel to The Hawaiian Quilt but can be read as a standalone. Whether you are an frequent reader of Amish fiction/romance or a first timer you won’t be disappointed in the latest from Wanda and Jean Brunstetter.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Shiloh Run Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

The Diva Cooks Up a Storm (A Domestic Diva Mystery #11) by Krista Davis

diva storm

Pages: 352 (eBook)

Publisher: Kensington Books

Published: May 29, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sophie and her best friend Nina are excited to spend their vacation on the beach but before they can leave they attend the trend of an underground dinner. The next day one of the diners is found dead. What or who had it in for him?

I absolutely adore this series. Sophie is your quintessential girl next door that everyone wants to be around. She not only can cook yummy dishes she also has a knack for solving the latest murder around town. Her ex-husband lives down the street and they share custody of Daisy, the most lovable dog ever and get this, Sophie and Mars get along. At times it makes you wonder if a certain someone was out of the picture would they get back together.

When you read a Diva book not only are you solving murders you are also learning so much about decorating, baking, cooking and general etiquette. I find that so very fun. It’s like reading Ann Landers all over again.

While each book can be read as a stand alone I suggest to get the full experience you read them in order. So far there are eleven books:
1. The Diva Runs Out of Thyme
2. The Diva Takes the Cake
3. The Diva Paints the Town
4. The Diva Cooks a Goose
5. The Diva Haunts the House
6. The Diva Digs Up the Dirt
7. The Diva Frosts a Cupcake
8. The Diva Wraps it Up
9. The Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss
10. The Diva Serves High Tea
11. The Diva Cooks Up a Storm

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Ella: An Amish Retelling of Cinderella by Sarah Price

ella

Pages: 368 (eBook)

Publisher: Kensington Books

Published: March 29, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Ella has not had it easy since her father died unexpectedly and left her alone with her stepmother and two stepsisters. She has had to do whatever her stepsisters did not want to do which is everything from cooking, cleaning and working in the family store. Her stepmother lets the girls get away with everything while making Ella look and feel as if she is worthless. An unfortunate event has plagued the family and something must be done to save the family store. When a young man starts visiting Echo Creek for his father another store owner life gets interesting for all. Will this be Ella’s chance to shine?

Sarah Price has done a wonderful job in the retelling of Cinderella through an Amish perspective. It makes it very fun and interesting. My favorite line in the story is Ella’s mother’s final words, “Be kind and have faith.” What a powerful line. I have found myself repeating that many times since I have finished the book.

This book is great for teenage readers (and adults) who want to read a clean romance without the crude sex scenes and unneeded obscene language that is finding its way into young adult books.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington Books through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Loving the Person You are Today This is Me by Chrissy Metz

this is me

Pages: 320 (Audiobook)

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published: March 27, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I wish this book had been around in my early twenties. I have been lucky to have parents who have loved me and encouraged me no matter what size I am but I have always had a small issue with worrying about what others think of me and a little self-conscious wearing clothes that fit instead of baggy clothes that I thought hid everything. In just the last ten years or so have I learned to be comfortable in my own skin. If I had this book in my early twenties I can only imagine how I would have learned to embrace me for me earlier in life.

Chrissy Metz writes as if you are sitting at the dining room table, drinking coffee and sharing your life with each other. You really feel as if she is a friend. Some reviews say this is a self-help book and others classify it as a memoir. I would say it is a cross between the two but in no way did I feel as if she was telling me “Do this or you will never be happy.” She was conversationally telling the reader how she came to love who she is and maybe something in her conversation will help you.

If you are the parent of a young woman who feels unworthy this may be a book you can read together and talk about and help your young woman love herself. If you are phobic of overweight people this may be a book you read to learn we are humans too and have feelings and want the same thing in life you do: love and acceptance.

I commend Chrissy for talking about the ugly and non-ugly parts of her life. I hope she stays true to herself as her fame rises.

Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com by Nancy Hendrickson

ancestry

Pages: 272 (Paperback)

Publisher: Family Tree Books

Published: May 29, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

What a great research tool to enhance your navigation to Ancestry.com.

I have been using Ancestry.com for over ten years and thought I knew all the tricks but I learned quite a few form this book. My passion for genealogy has been sparked again.

The screenshots are great especially for newbies. As a newbie you can read the entire book or as an experienced user of the sight flip to the section you need.

You won’t be sorry to add this to your genealogy bookshelf.

I received a copy from Family Tree Books through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the review are my own.

The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable

jack

Pages: 544 (eBook)

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: May 29, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A historical fiction account of a love affair between JFK and Alicia Corning Clark which may have resulted in a love child.

Alicia is a Polish refugee who arrives in Hyannisport via Oklahoma to work as a maid for the Kennedys. Jack (a young JFK) becomes dazzled by her beauty and starts a romance that leads to an engagement. Jack’s father, Joe, has other ideas of who Jack should marry and it is not a maid from Poland. Over the years Alicia and Jack continue to see each other on the side but they each marry other people.

Alicia tries to become someone important but winds up rich in money but poor in family and friends as her life comes to a close.

I found this book fascinating as I have always enjoyed reading about JFK. This book sure has me rethinking what a great guy he was as he is portrayed as a playboy, slob and rude person his entire life. I believe I had my head buried in the sand as to his true character.

I felt sorry for Alicia as I cannot imagine being separated from my parents to go into hiding and then learning my father was killed in a concentration camp and my mother was only a shell of herself. I thought she was a strong person to leave her mother to try and get them a better life. She did the best she could. Money to her was important and that is how she saw a way to get her mom what she needed and later in life she used the money to make herself happy in the moment. She did one of the most selfless acts in letting someone else raise her baby as their own. She thought she was protecting the baby.

Does Alicia’s story have truth? I believe it does.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel through NetGalley from St. Martin’s Press. Any opinions expressed in the review are entirely my own.

Beneath the Summer Sun (Every Amish Season #2) by Kelly Irvin

summer

Pages: 382 (eBook)

Publisher: Zondervan

Published: January 16, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Jennie lost her husband four years ago and she is struggling to make ends meet with seven kids. Atlee was not a nice husband and has forever scarred her emotionally to love again or so she thinks.

Nathan, a Mennonite bookseller, has fallen in love with Jennie over the years he has stopped by her place trying to sell her books. He thinks he wants to become Amish but us he doing it for the right reasons?

Leo used to be in love with Jennie when they were younger but life got in the way from him pursuing her further. Can he overcome his own demons and learn to love again?

I truly enjoyed this book even though it was not a light hearted Amish read as most. Kelly Irvin tackles abuse between husband and wife and child and father. She tackles death from all sides with the upside of new life. I feel as if she really gets down and deep into true Amish life as much as one can to keep the reader still interested. We read to escape reality in some way and don’t want constant reminders of the “real world”. Irvin has it down to a science to write about real subjects but not fully immersing in to real world. We still get our fairy tale ending.

This is the second book in the Every Amish Season series and both books are a true work of art. If you want an Amish fiction story with a little more grit I suggest starting with this book that can be read as a stand alone with no problems.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zondervan through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are my own.