The Tinderbox by Beverly Lewis

tinderbox

Pages: 310

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Published: April 2, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: With her Amish parents’ twentieth anniversary approaching, eighteen-year-old Sylvia Miller stumbles across a surprise–the old brass tinderbox her clockmaker father keeps in his Lancaster County shop has been left unlocked. Against her better judgment, Sylvia opens the cherished heirloom, not realizing that what she is about to discover will splinter apart her happy life.

Sylvia’s bewilderment grows when her father confronts her about snooping in the box. To her amazement, the respected convert to the Old Order reacts as if he has something to hide.

Burdened by the weight of his deception, Earnest Miller decides he must reveal the details about his past to his beloved wife, Rhoda. The long-kept secret alters everything for the close-knit family, jeopardizing Earnest and Rhoda’s relationship, as well as threatening Sylvia’s recent engagement to the preacher’s grandson.

Can the Millers find a way forward through the turmoil to a place of forgiveness and acceptance?

My review: I have been reading Beverly Lewis for I know twenty years and each book she releases keeps getting better and better. The Tinderbox is going to be one of my favorites. I am already eagerly anticipating the sequel due out later this year.

The shock at the end had my jaw dropping to the floor. What a surprise.

I admire Rhoda and her strength and faith in God to work through the secret her husband, Earnest, kept from her. I don’t think I could have been as calm and understanding as she. As always Lewis shows how our belief in God can help us with forgiveness but she doesn’t preach it. I like that.

A solid four star read.

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

Last Pen Standing (Stationary Shop #1)by Vivian Conroy

pen

Pages: 288

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Published: September 24, 2019 (according to NetGalley and Amazon)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: As the new co-owner of Tundish Montana’s stationery shop WANTED, Delta Douglas knows how to organize a killer crafting event. Creativity and cardstock are all she needs to move one step closer to her ultimate dream: developing her own line of crafting products. But on the night of the workshop, at the swanky hotel venue, glitter isn’t the only thing found sprawled on the floor. A hotel guest is discovered dead in the bar, and amid the confusion, Delta’s best friend is suspected of the crime.
Enlisting the help of her Paper Posse and Spud, her canine sidekick, Delta dives into the investigation. But with many high-powered suspects on the line, Delta soon realizes her sleuthing may come with deadly consequences.

My Review: A solid four stars. This is the first book I’ve read by Vivian Conroy and I will definitely be checking out her other books. She kept the story going with making sure enough red herrings were evident to keep the reader guessing the killer.

I was thrilled the series is set in Montana. A state on my bucket list of places to travel. She combined that with retired K-9 digs and I was hooked.

I am not a crafter but this book has piqued my interest. I had no clue what washi tape was and have since watched several YouTube videos in what you can do with it. I just might become dangerous in decorating.

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

The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth

mother law

Pages: 347

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: April 23, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, she knew she wasn’t the wife Diana had envisioned for her perfect son. Exquisitely polite, friendly, and always generous, Diana nonetheless kept Lucy at arm’s length despite her desperate attempts to win her over. And as a pillar in the community, an advocate for female refugees, and a woman happily married for decades, no one had a bad word to say about Diana…except Lucy.

That was five years ago.

Now, Diana is dead, a suicide note found near her body claiming that she longer wanted to live because of the cancer wreaking havoc inside her body.
But the autopsy finds no cancer.
It does find traces of poison, and evidence of suffocation.

Who could possibly want Diana dead? Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her children, and their spouses? And what does it mean that Lucy isn’t exactly sad she’s gone?

My Review: This is my second Sally Hepworth book and both have been amazing reads. It was a close 5-star read.

A perfect book to show how money can ruin lives.

Would I recommend this book for a teenage reader? No, as it has many adult situations (not sexual) that might be too much. This would make a perfect book club book. I wish I was in one just to have some animated discussions in the plot.

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

The Body in the Wetlands (A Jazzi Sanders Mystery #2) by Judi Lynn

wetlands

Pages: 268

Publisher: Kensington

Published: April 23, 2013

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: When established house flippers Jazzi Zanders and her cousin Jerod donate a week’s worth of remodeling work to Jazzi’s sister Olivia, they’re expecting nothing more than back-breaking roofing work and cold beers at the end of each long, hot day. With Jazzi’s live-in boyfriend and partner Ansel on the team, it promises to be a quick break before starting their next big project—until Leo, an elderly neighbor of Olivia’s, unexpectedly goes missing . . .

When the friendly senior’s dog tugs Jazzi and the guys toward the wetlands beyond Olivia’s neighborhood, they stumble across a decomposing corpse—and a lot of questions. With Jazzi’s pal Detective Gaff along to investigate, Jazzi finds her hands full of a whole new mystery instead of the usual hammer and nails. And this time it will take some sophisticated sleuthing to track down the culprit of the deadly crime—before the killer turns on her next . . .

My review:

What I like: I love the mystery that runs through each book in the series. The mystery is very interesting and both books have kept me guessing almost to the end.

I enjoy the animals featured and was very pleased to see Jazzi get the kittens from the little boy and not go to a pet store. I imagine those kittens are going to give George the Pug a run for his money shortly.

What I don’t like: Ansel’s insecurity with Jazzi is very disturbing almost to the point of being controlling. Yes, they’ve known each other a while but only been dating two months and already he is pressuring her to let him put a ring on it. A comment is made almost every day. I am tired of reading how handsome he is. We get it, he is the perfect Nordic God. How he acted while away at his family was sickening. Where is the trust he says he has in Jazzi? He is not showing it.

There is a lot of beer drinking while working. Every time they take a break, it’s “Let’s go have a beer.” Maybe they should drink some water every now and then.

The lead detective asking Jazzi for help in notifying next of kin was very far fetched for me. Seemed absurd. Yes, I realize this is fiction but it made the story hard to believe. No police officer that I know would be asking a civilian to help him break the news to the next of kin that someone has died.

I would not give this to a young teenager to read as there are adult situations (no details but heavily implied), drinking and the controlling behavior of Ansel.

I like the Jazzi Sanders Mystery series but it is not my favorite. I will continue to read the series.

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

The Patient One (Walnut Creek #1) by Shelley Shepard Gray

 

patient

Pages: 304

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: April 9, 2019

Rating: 5 stars

What made life memorable wasn’t when everything went so right that it was easy . . . it was when everything felt so wrong that the only thing to do was accept it for what it was—a memory in the making.” – The Patient One by Shelley Shepard Gray

NetGalley:
When word had gotten out that Andy Warner had committed suicide, everyone in Walnut Creek, Ohio, had been shocked. For seven men and women in their twenties, some Amish, some Mennonite, and some English, each of whom had once counted his or herself as one of Andy’s best friends, it had been extremely painful.

And, maybe, a source of guilt.

Years have passed since they’d all been together last. Some of them got into trouble. A couple got into arguments. Eventually, they all drifted apart. But even though none of them really saw each other anymore, there was a steadfast certainty that they’d always have each other’s backs—even when no one else did. Their bond was that strong…until Andy did the unthinkable.

Now the seven remaining friends, still reeling from Andy’s death, have vowed to look after each other again. As far as they’re concerned, it doesn’t matter that they’re now in their twenties and have drifted far apart. They need to connect again…for Andy.

My review:
I’m still reeling from the Andy we meet in Friends to the End is no longer with us. I never got the feeling in the prequel that he was struggling. Which I understand is how a lot of people suffering from depression are. A lot of times you don’t know until it is too late. I appreciated Gray taking the time to reflect how suicide and senseless death affects not only those close to the deceased but others around the deceased.

Tissues are a must when reading. This would be a great book to use as a way to talk to your teenager about depression and suicide and that there is help available. It is also a good lesson on drunk driving and how a night of fun can destroy lives in seconds.

The Patient One is a clean romance with no foul language.

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

Mending Fences (The Deacon’s Family Book #1) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

fences

Pages: 330

Publisher: Revell

Published: February 5, 2019

Rating: 5 stars

Oh my soul what a powerfully moving book.

NetGalley:
Luke Schrock is a new and improved man after a stint in rehab, though everyone in Stoney Ridge only remembers the old Luke. They might have forgiven him, but nobody trusts him.

Amos and Fern Lapp allow Luke to live at Windmill Farm under two conditions. First, Luke must make a sincere apology to each person he’s hurt–a four-page, single-spaced list. Second, he must ask each victim of mischief to describe the damage he caused.

Simple, Luke thinks. Offering apologies is easy. But discovering the lasting effects his careless actions have caused . . . that isn’t so simple. It’s gut-wrenching.

And his list keeps growing. Izzy Miller, beautiful and frustratingly aloof, also boards at Windmill Farm. Luke’s clumsy efforts to befriend Izzy only insult and annoy her. Eager to impress, Luke sets out to prove himself to her by locating her mother. When he does, her identity sends shock waves through Stoney Ridge.

Bestselling and award-winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher returns to her beloved Stoney Ridge for this brand-new series featuring some of her readers’ favorite characters.

My Review:
It has been a few months since I have read a book that totally took me off guard and blew my socks off. This book definitely did that. I am not even sure where to start with this book review.

In today’s world addiction is so prevalent. Almost every family has dealt with it through a spouse, child or other close family members. The effects tear families and communities apart. I deal with it more than I would like in the classroom. Nothing is more heartbreaking than a precious 5-year old kindergartener coming up to you and saying my mommy had to have NARCAN last night. Thankfully I have never had a personal addiction problem and I will be the first to tell you that I do not understand it. Fisher did an excellent job in showing addiction from the person with the addiction. I appreciated it that she also made sure to make that person accountable.

I also love the lesson of you never know how your (bad) actions can affect another and the rest of their life. You may think you are pulling a harmless prank but in reality, you could be taking something very important from that person. Something I need to strive towards is forgiveness. That is a downfall of mine. I don’t forgive easily not do I forget.

Towards the end is a shocking revelation that will floor you. I actually had to stop reading to process it. No, I am not giving you any hints as I want you to experience the shock I did.

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

My Special Brother Bo by Britt Collins

bo

Pages: 20

Publisher: Future Horizons

Published: February 14, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: Written by a pediatric occupational therapist who has worked for over thirteen years with children with special needs. Through this sweet story of love an acceptance, siblings of children with special needs will hear that they are loved and hold a unique place within their family. Through Lucy’s voice, children will gain a better understanding of how important and loved they are.

Before reading, I read some not so positive reviews and was worried I was not going to like this book. A lot of readers thought it was derogatory to Bo and Lucy was not a very caring big sister. They also mentioned that they felt it was not good at explaining autism to readers.

After reading, I enjoyed it. I looked at it as a great book for siblings of special needs brothers or sisters. A perfect book for a parent or educator to read and let them see it is ok to have the feelings of disappointment of not being able to do everything others do. You can let them know it is ok to be embarrassed at times but they are still your sibling and love and understanding is the best medicine of all.

As a special education substitute teacher, I will use this in my classrooms.

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

Friends to the End (0.5 The Walnut Creek Series) by Shelley Shepard Gray

friends

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: February 11, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: When Andy’s baby sister Trish gets stranded at the family cabin during a massive blizzard, he calls upon his best friends—the Magnificent Eight—to go to his sister’s rescue.

Andy knows that several members of the Eight will drop everything to help, and they’re the perfect solution because the Amish aren’t hindered by stalled cars—they can travel just fine in their buggies.

But when Logan, Trish’s secret crush, is the first to volunteer to save her, she can’t help but worry that despite the freezing temperatures, being alone with Logan might mean that things heat up pretty fast. Filled with Shelley Shepard Gray’s signature “heart-warming, heart-stopping” (Wendy Corsi Staub, New York Times bestselling author) prose, Friends to the End is an evocative and endearing romance.

My review: Wow, what an introduction to the Walnut Creek Series. I was blown away by how a novella made me fall in love with the characters so quickly. I am a sucker for Amish romance and this novella delivered on all aspects. The end will leave you hungering for more.

A quick read perfect for a quiet evening.

I have already read the blurb for book one, The Patient One and I am very impatient to read the book. Warning do not read the blurb for book one until you have read this novella.

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

Secrets at Cedar Cabin (Lavender Tides #3) by Colleen Coble

cedar

Pages: 352

Publisher: Thomas Nelson – Fiction

Published: January 22, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Bailey’s life has been turned upside down since the murder of her mother. One of the biggest changes has been fleeing from Rock Harbor, MI to Lavender Tides, WA. Once there she meets Lance, an FBI agent hunting for the human trafficking ring that abducted his sister five years ago. Through wonderful mastery, Coble has written an edge of your seat thriller with plenty of romance.

Secrets at Cedar Cabin is the third book in the Lavender Tide series and it kept up with the first two as being a fast-paced read with no dull scenes. You will find yourself embedded in Lavender Tides as you read. Fans of romantic thrillers will enjoy this book/series. You can read each as a standalone with no issues.

This book deals with the more sensitive subject of human trafficking so before giving it to a teenager to read I would sit down and discuss what human trafficking is and what to look for on social media and how to stay safe. Coble does an excellent job of showing how scarily easy it can be for our young women to be picked up by these horrible excuses of human beings.

I enjoy reading Coble’s books as I know I am guaranteed a clean romance, no obscene language, and a happy ending.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson-Fiction through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review is entirely my own.

The Amish Midwife’s (Love and Promises #2 Secret by Rachel J. Good

midwife

Pages: 385

Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)

Published: November 27, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Kyle left his hometown behind after a heartbreaking young romance and a devasting accident with no plans to ever return. When the local doctor asks him to take over his medical practice, Kyle feels the need to help. What Kyle did not expect was to fall in love with Leah. Leah is the Amish midwife who believes that holistic healing herbs and faith in God are the best healing medicines. Can Kyle and Leah overcome their differences to let love have a chance?

This book kept me up way past my bedtime more times than I can count. I also found myself ignoring everything that needed to be accomplished after work just so I could dive back into Kyle and Leah’s story. You cannot help but believe in love and the power of love when you read this story. I became a little weepy as I read because it was so tender.

I am also more interested in the holistic healing properties of organic herbal teas for chronic illness. I have found a new interest. Leah’s story was very convincing in how well they can work.

This is the second book in the Love and Promises series but each book can be read as a stand-alone. It is a beautiful Christian romance with no obscene sexual overtones or scenes, no foul language and not overly religious (meaning scripture verses on every page). I would feel comfortable giving this to a teen girl or my ninety-year-old grandmother to read.

I received a copy of this book from Forever (Grand Central Publishing) through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.