Piece by Piece by Laura Bradford

piece

Pages: 276

Publisher: Kensington

Published: July 28, 2020

Rating 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: Warning: Do not read without boxes of tissues by your side.

The author personally reached out to warn me this book might be hard for me to read so soon to my mama’s death. She was right BUT it has been the most healing book I have read.

Through Dani’s grief, I was reminded of how my mama is still with me every day. She is in my memories and my heart. Just like Dani’s mom, my mom was always there for me. Oh, the times I called her at 3am because I couldn’t sleep because of worry. She’d listen patiently, talk me through it, and tell me to get sleep and it would be better when I woke up. You know what? She was always right. My mom was my rock. She was right up to almost the very end.

Both Dani and Lydia’s stories will touch your soul. When you turn the last page you will feel as Laura Bradford says in the book that Dani and Lydia are your friends and are the “…rainbow after a storm.”

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Kensington, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review entirely my own.

NetGalley: A grieving mother learns to heal in Amish country, in this heartfelt, beautifully told novel from national bestselling author Laura Bradford.

Danielle Parker is a gold-medal mom—the kind who volunteers in her children’s classrooms, shuttles them between activities, throws legendary birthday parties, and has a remedy on hand for any emergency. Whatever her husband, Jeff, and their children need, Dani is there, always.

Except for one day.

On that day—the day that Dani reluctantly takes some “me time” while her mom and Jeff drive the children to the park—the unthinkable happens. The car crash leaves no survivors. Somehow, Dani gets through the funerals and visits, accepting neighbors’ sympathy and dropped-off meals. All the while, guilt and grief make her wish the accident had claimed her life too. Then a call comes from Lydia Schlabach, an Amish woman Dani befriended in childhood. In addition to condolences, Lydia offers Dani something more: a place to escape to.

In Pennsylvania’s Amish country, Dani’s days take on a new rhythm, marked by the clip-clop of buggies and the bustle of chores. Lydia gives Dani space to mourn, to think, and to realize how long it’s been since she felt like a person in her own right. And with the help of friendships old and new, Dani learns about the ways life continues to surprise us—even after the deepest loss—with joy, love, and second chances. . . .

How to Save a Life by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

how

Pages: 301

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Published: July 14, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: It is a sign of a good book if I am interested from page one on a genre that I am not normally interested in, magical realism. I have found I am liking it more and more and this book solidified that thought. I could not put this book down and only because I had to be an adult did I.

The story of Dom and Mia is tragic, to say the least, and you pretty much know what is going to happen each Thursday (Groundhog Day) but you still find yourself hoping and pleading for a better outcome.

I loved the message at the end of the book.

A quick read that will have you hooked immediately.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Lake Union Publishing, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: The bestselling authors of The Good Widow deliver a modern, suspenseful twist on Groundhog Day that asks the question: How far are you willing to go to save the life of someone you love?

Dom is having a very bad day—one he literally can’t escape.

When Dom bumps into Mia, his ex-fiancée whom he hasn’t seen in almost a decade, he believes they’ve been given a second chance and asks her out. When Mia dies tragically on their date, Dom makes a desperate wish: to be given the chance to save her life. And when he wakes the next morning to the shock that she’s alive, he thinks his wish may have been granted. But day after day, no matter what he changes about their time together, she still meets a terrible fate.

Dom frantically searches for answers to save his beloved Mia and rekindle their former love. But the further he digs, the more obsessed he becomes, making him realize that slowing down time may be the only way to see things clearly. As he’s forced to confront the truth about himself and those he’s closest to, Dom vows that he’ll watch Mia die a thousand times if it means he can save her once.

Murder on Pleasant Avenue (Gaslight Mystery #23)

pleasant

Pages: 332

Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group

Published: April 28, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I enjoyed this book but realized very early on that I need to read the series in order. It took me much too long, in my opinion, to understand some of the reoccurring characters. I have read one book previously and had forgotten that was my conclusion then.

Being of Italian descent I found this book very interesting especially regarding the difference in the Calabrians and Sicilians. My grandfather was from Sicily and passed away when I was 2 so I never had the chance to ask him about his heritage.

A word of warning this book deals with the kidnapping of children and the sexual assault of women. There are no detailed scenes of sexual assault. This is a cozy mystery with more of a bite to the story. While reading I do not have the light, airy feel as I usually do while reading cozies. I am already on the hunt for book 1 so I may understand this series better.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Berkely Publishing Group. through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: When Gino Donatelli is accused of a brutal murder, beloved sleuths Sarah and Frank Malloy have to catch a killer who is out to destroy their innocent friend’s life in the latest installment of the national bestselling Gaslight mysteries.

A victim is found, brutally murdered and the police are certain they’ve caught the killer. Their only suspect: Gino Donatelli.

Frank and Sarah know Gino is innocent but the police have a one-track mind. Once Frank struck it rich and left their ranks taking Gino with him, there has been a simmering resentment in the department. And now, someone has pulled out all the stops to make it look like Gino is the only one who could have committed the crime.

With the clock ticking and evidence mounting against their friend, Sarah and Frank will try to unravel a treacherous plot before Gino is sent up the river for good.

Light Shines on Promise Lodge (Promise Lodge #5) by Charlotte Hubbard

light

Pages: 320

Publisher: Kensington

Published: March 31, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I enjoyed this series as it showed a side of strong Amish woman that you do not see a lot in Amish fiction. Light Shines on Promise Lodge is a great ending to the series. You are not left with any cliff hangers and as with every book in the series, it is a clean read.

I really enjoyed seeing Gloria’s character grow up through the series and come into a fine young lady. She is a character that will stay with you and make you see the younger generations in more understanding light. She reminds us that we were all younger at one time and might not have made the best decisions.

Each book can be read as a standalone but I think you get more from the series reading in order.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Kensington, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Readers who have fallen in love with Amish Romance legends such as Beverly Lewis and Cindy Windsmall, will be charmed by this heartfelt conclusion to Hubbard’s Promise Lodge series, as the progressive ways of the Promise Lodge community are threatened by dark times… until the light of truth and love lifts them up…

For abandoned wife Annabelle Beachey, Promise Lodge is a refuge where she’s gained confidence and self-sufficiency. But she and others are dismayed when newly arrived Bishop Clayton King claims the community is too progressive and sets out to change its ways. Worse, her husband, Phineas returns, expecting her to give up her faith as he has. And he won’t leave Promise Lodge without her . . .

But little by little, Annabelle’s determination and new forthrightness make Phineas realize his mistakes—and truly hear his wife for the first time. Meanwhile, Annabelle finds herself feeling compassion—and even renewed love—for her newly humble, more caring husband. And as Bishop Clayton’s attempt to control Promise Lodge threatens everything its residents have built, Phineas and Annabelle must work together with unshakeable courage to save their new home—and their opportunity for forever happiness.

 

Promises of Tomorrow (Walnut Creek 4.5) by Shelley Shepard Gray

promises

Pages: 100

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: July 6, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A perfect ending to a beautifully written series that touches on topics that will make you take stock of your life.

Without giving anything away, you know by the end of the novella that the Eight will be ok. Each book and novella is written as standalone reads but I heavily suggest you start with Friends to the End and read in order. You will get so much more out of the books. I have needed tissues with every story but that is good for me as it means that it was a memorable read for me.

Beth’s story touches on the thoughts I had in the early dating stages of my husband. If something tragic happens early on, how do you grieve? Sometimes you know from the beginning that you have found your person. I wanted to reach into the novella and comfort Beth with lots of hugs.

A quick read for an afternoon but one that stays with you long after.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Gallery Books, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Two years have passed since their friend Andy’s death, and the Eight is still struggling to cope with their loss. In an attempt to give the group some time to reconnect with one another, remember their friend, and reflect on the last two years, Marie decides that a relaxing couple’s getaway is just what they need before the craziness of the holiday season begins. When their large cabin in the woods turns out to be more rundown than rustic, though, Marie fears that she’s ruined everything, but at least, she thinks, the trip can’t get any worse—that is, until a lost English girl named Beth appears at the cabin. And with such heavy snow, the Eight is forced to take her in for the next twenty-four hours.

Although Marie feels as if all her planning and good intentions were for nothing, she has no idea that Beth will give the group a gift they didn’t know they needed: the reminder that life may not always be fair and sometimes it’s painful, but there’s always another day.

With Shelley Shepard Gray’s signature “thought-provoking, emotional” (Patricia Davids, USA TODAY bestselling author) prose, Promises of Tomorrow is a moving story of love, friendship, and faith.

Marshmallow Malice (An Amish Candy Shop #5) by Amanda Flower

marshmallow

Pages: 336

Publisher: Kensington

Published: May 26, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: The Amish Candy Shop Mystery series is guaranteed to give you a few hours of laughs. Jethro, the pig, steals the show each and every book. If you haven’t read the previous books in the series, just close your eyes and imagine a pig being carried around like a baby who is dressed up in something polka dot. Now, tell me you didn’t feel yourself smiling. Smiling is what you will do plenty of even while solving a murder or two.

Again, Flower has provided us with a clean murder mystery with no unnecessary gory details, no foul language, and no sex scenes. It is definitely a series I would share with a teenager looking to get into the cozy mystery world.

Word of warning, be prepared to crave everything chocolate. I found myself craving a wedding cake with marshmallow topping and I have never had one with that topping. Flower does such a good job describing sweets you will be craving things you’ve never had.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Kensington, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: With Juliet Brody and Reverend Brook tying the knot in Ohio’s Amish Country’s most anticipated nuptials of the year, Bailey King is determined to do everything in her power to make the event a sweet success. Except midsummer heat waves and outdoor ceremonies don’t mix, and an exasperated Bailey soon finds herself struggling to fulfill bridesmaid duties and keep her stunning marshmallow-frosted wedding cake from becoming a gooey disaster. Then much to everyone’s shock, the entire ceremony crumbles when a guest drops dead, and the cause isn’t sunstroke . . .

Turns out, the uninvited victim came equipped with lots of dirt on the devout reverend’s hidden past. As Reverend Brook tops the murder suspect list on what should have been the happiest day of his life, Bailey and her sheriff’s deputy boyfriend vow to clear his name. Can the duo boil down a series of baffling clues before Juliet considers her marriage a bad mistake—or the killer whips up another deadly surprise?

Amish Generations: Four Stories by Kathleen Fuller

generations

Pages: 368

Publisher: Harper Collins/Zondervan

Published: June 2, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Young Love—My favorite of the four stories as I can relate to Fern.

Long-Awaited Love—An enjoyable read and makes you think about how many relationships we know that are similar.

Second-Chance Love—I enjoyed the exchange of letters between the characters.

Never Too Late—Provided laughs and lets the reader believe in love at any age.

Perfect for teenagers and up as a clean read.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Harper Collins/Zondervan, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Four sweet and funny Amish love stories, spanning four different generations. Love comes at all times and for all ages!

Young Love—When Fern was diagnosed with a chronic illness in her early twenties, she knew it would limit her abilities to be a good Amish wife. And with Dan, the object of her affection, in a serious relationship, there didn’t seem much point in dating. But Dan is now single, and he seems to be taking notice of Fern. She’ll need a strong dose of courage to talk down the fear her illness has brought on if she ever wants to pursue her dreams.

Long-Awaited Love—When Everett left ten years ago, Jemima’s love quickly turned to hate. But when they arrive back home at the same bus station on the same day, they discover some old flames aren’t put out so easily. Can they move past the forces that pulled them apart ten years ago, or are some hurts too much to overcome?

Second-Chance Love—Benjamin and Lora Beth both lost spouses not long into their young marriages and connect over letters, exchanging recipes and commiseration as their now-grown children try to coddle them. They’re only in their forties, for heaven’s sake! The letters quickly reveal a deep friendship . . . or could it be more? When you’ve already had a great love, how do you learn to fall in love again?

Never Too Late—Jerald is a committed old bachelor. He loves nothing more than good Amish food and giving his best friend’s wife, Regina, a hard time. When people have asked—and believe him, people have asked—he’s always said he’ll marry when he finds the right woman. It’s just never happened in his seventy years. Until he tastes the best blueberry pie and discovers the woman behind it: Regina’s best friend, Elva.

 

On Ocean Boulevard (The Beach House #6) by Mary Alice Monroe

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Pages: 381

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: May 15, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: The Beach House series was a series that my mom and I shared every summer. I feel in love with the series because it centered around sea turtles and my mom loved the setting. She was so excited about the release date but unfortunately, she did not get to read it before passing. I opened the book expecting to be too sad to read it but Mary Alice writes with such beauty that I felt comforted. The sense of family made me think of my mom and I felt like I was able to cross my first speed bump in the grief process.

I have no idea if there are to be more in the series but in case there is not I felt like On Ocean Boulevard came full circle from book one. Cara, Emmi, Flo, and other characters are family. You fall in love with book one and never want it to end. I believe this will be a series that I will read over and over again.

If you love the ocean, the Lowcountry, sea turtles, and/or how to conserve our environment for our future generations this is the series for you. You can start with any book as each is written as a stand-alone. The books are best read with a glass of sweet tea in your hand.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Gallery Books, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Instant New York Times Bestseller

The New York Times bestselling author of The Summer Guests returns at long last to her beloved Isle of Palms in this breathtaking novel about one family’s summer of forging new beginnings against the enduring beauty and resilience of the natural world.

It’s been sixteen years since Caretta “Cara” Rutledge has returned home to the beautiful shores of Charleston, South Carolina. Over those years, she has weathered the tides of deaths and births, struggles and joys. And now, as Cara prepares for her second wedding, her life is about to change yet again.

Meanwhile, the rest of the storied Rutledge family is also in flux. Cara’s niece Linnea returns to Sullivan’s Island to begin a new career and an unexpected relationship. Linnea’s parents, having survived bankruptcy, pin their hopes and futures on the construction of a new home on Ocean Boulevard. But as excitement over the house and wedding builds, a devastating illness strikes the family and brings plans to a screeching halt. It is under these trying circumstances that the Rutledge family must come together yet again to discover the enduring strength in love, tradition, and legacy from mother to daughter to granddaughter.

Like the sea turtles that come ashore annually on these windswept islands, three generations of the Rutledge family experience a season of return, rebirth, and growth. “Authentic, generous, and heartfelt” (Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times bestselling author), On Ocean Boulevard is Mary Alice Monroe at her very best.

Stella Endicott and the Anything-Is-Possible Poem (Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume Five) by Kate DiCamillo

stella

Pages: 96

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Published: June 9, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: I love reading any Kate DiCamillo book but if it features Mercy I am the happiest. Mercy the pig has won my adult heart over many times over.

I cannot wait to read this book to my littles when school comes back in session. I think they will get a kick out of it. I was so impressed by how it taught all about metaphors in a fun and easy way. This is the type of book that makes reading and learning fun for students.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Candlewick Press, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Metaphor alert! An ode to a certain pig kicks off one wild school day in Kate DiCamillo’s latest stop on Deckawoo Drive.

Stella Endicott loves her teacher, Miss Liliana, and she is thrilled when the class is assigned to write a poem. Stella crafts a beautiful poem about Mercy Watson, the pig who lives next door — a poem complete with a metaphor and full of curiosity and courage. But Horace Broom, Stella’s irritating classmate, insists that Stella’s poem is full of lies and that pigs do not live in houses. And when Stella and Horace get into a shouting match in the classroom, Miss Liliana banishes them to the principal’s office. Will the two of them find a way to turn this opposite-of-a-poem day around? In the newest spirited outing in the Deckawoo Drive series by Kate DiCamillo, anything is possible — even a friendship with a boy deemed to be (metaphorically speaking) an overblown balloon.

The Farm Stand (An Amish Marketplace #2) by Amy Clipston

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Pages: 352

Publisher: Zondervan Fiction

Published: May 5, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I know I will never have a disappointing read when I pick up an Amy Clipston novel. The Farm Stand was no exception. I was pulled into the story quickly and did not stop if I did not have to stop.

The love story between Salina and Will is a clean romance with no curse words or sex. It is an adult romance (late twenties) but being Amish, Salina, lets her dad rule her thoughts a bit too much for my taste. I know that is an Amish trait in Amish romance/fiction so I understand why it is that way in the book. I still get frustrated with the lead female though.

I would feel very comfortable giving this to a teenage girl (high school) to read.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Zondervan Fiction, from NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Experience some sweet, garden-fresh romance in the next installment of Amy Clipston’s Amish Marketplace series.

Salina Petersheim runs her own booth at the Amish market, where she’s known for having the freshest and most delicious produce in the area. Her father is the bishop of her church district, and her brother is a deacon. They are a very close family, yet sometimes she tires of being compared to her older brother, Neil, who is married and has two children. She also feels the pressure of having to be the perfect daughter for her parents.

Salina has been dating Josiah for almost a year now, but he feels more like a friend than a boyfriend. Her parents approve of Josiah, who is a hardworking roofer. He’s handsome and easy to talk to, but he just doesn’t warm her heart the way she feels a boyfriend and future husband should. She secretly longs for more.

Along comes William “Will” Zimmerman, a Mennonite chef who runs a restaurant located next door to the Amish market. He wants Salina to supply the produce for his restaurant, and as they forge a business relationship, they both feel themselves falling in love. Salina especially tries to deny her feelings for Will since her father wants her to marry within the community.

Both Salina and Will feel stuck in their current relationships, but they cannot deny what they feel for each other. Will they follow their hearts or bow to the pressure of family? Or will God provide a surprising new road for them?