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.

Criminally Cocoa (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery #3.5) by Amanda Flower

cocoa

Pages: 86

Publisher: Kensington

Published: February 26, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:
As if being in New York City for Easter isn’t exciting enough, Charlotte Weaver has another reason to be thrilled. She’s helping her cousin, Bailey, on the set of her first cable TV show, Bailey’s Amish Sweets. Bailey will even be re-creating the delectable hand-woven chocolate Easter baskets she once crafted for the city’s world-famous JP Chocolates. But once things start rolling, Charlotte starts to notice odd things happening—things that seem intended to make Bailey look bad . . .

With Bailey feeling extra nervous about being on camera, Charlotte decides to keep her suspicion of sabotage to herself. But she knows that among Bailey’s fans at the Gourmet Television network lurks a dangerously jealous rival. Now Charlotte will have to find out who that person is—before sour grapes turn one of the sweetest times of the year fatally bitter . . .

My Review:
Amanda Flower has a way with words when it comes to cozy mysteries that warm your heart and keep you on the edge of your seat. I have yet to find a series of hers that I do not like. In fact, they keep getting better. If you have never read one of her books and are not sure where to start, Criminally Cocoa would be a great place to start. Yes, it technically comes after the third book in the An Amish Candy Shop series but you can read it out of order and be perfectly fine.

I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the story from Charlotte’s side instead of Bailey’s. It gave the series a fresh view. Charlotte is a perfect spunky Amish side kick to Bailey.

A recipe for Bird’s Nest is included at the end of the novella. I find myself being tempted to try and make them this year for Easter.

Books in Series:

  1. Assaulted Caramel
  2. Lethal Licorice
  3. Premeditated Peppermint
  4. Toxic Toffee

I received a copy of this novella from Kensington 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 House at Saltwater Point (Lavender Tides #2) by Colleen Coble

saltwater

Pages: 352 (eBook)

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Published: July 3, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

As far as Christian Suspense goes, Colleen Coble is the best.

Ellie has never forgiven herself for her part in the death of her youngest sister and subsequently her mother so she has always “mothered and babied” her other sister Mac. When her sister goes missing and is accused of stealing cocaine Ellie takes it upon herself to prove the Coast Guard wrong. Can Ellie save her sister and her sister’s reputation as her heart falls for the man trying to find and arrest Mac?

The Lavender Tides series is the Christian suspense series to be devoured. I thought The View from Rainshadow Bay was as edge of your seat reading as you could get but The House at Saltwater Point proved me wrong. My heart was racing through most of the book as Ellie was racing to find her sister. I enjoy learning as I read and appreciated how terrorism was handled in the book.

I adore how Colleen Coble can write stories within the story and not lose the importance of any of the stories. My interest has been piqued for the Hope Beach series. I see more books being added to my TBR pile.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson 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.

Plain Confession (An Amish Mystery #5) by Emma Miller

plain confession

Pages: 304 (eBook)

Publisher: Kensington

Published: March 27, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

As Rachel is finalizing her wedding plans to State Trooper Evan she learns that a local man’s death may not have been an accident. Daniel was an Amish man that the town had nothing bad to say until his death then stories started circulating that he was not whom he seemed. Will Rachel focus on her wedding plans so this time the wedding will go off without a hiccup or will she find herself in the middle of the investigation and losing sight of her future?

I have been wanting to read this series for several years as my mom has read a few of them and raves how good the stories are in her opinion. I have to agree, after reading the 5th book in the series it is now on my summer TBR list. I instantly liked Rachel. She is ex-Amish but still tries to follow her life as she was raised. She runs a local inn with the help of her cousin who is in her rumpsringa (a time when Amish youth get to live in both worlds). Since moving back to her hometown she has found herself in the middle of several murder investigations. This time it is two weeks before her wedding. Her wedding has been postponed once already.

On the surface Daniel appeared to be everything an Amish man should be but as Rachel starts questioning his death at the request of his mother-in-law she learns he was quite the opposite. Moses, Daniel’s brother-in-law, has confessed to killing Daniel but no one except for the English law system believes he really did it. Rachel is almost certain he is autistic and had he been diagnosed properly years ago he would be better understood. The more she investigates the more dead ends she runs into.

Two of the side characters are really amazing characters that I hope I see more of as I catch up on this series. There is Chuck, a doomsday prepper, who has seen more death and tragedy serving in the war than one should ever experience and Salome, the elderly midwife and herbalist, who knows everyone’s stories and secrets. Both turned out to be true friends to Rachel.

If you are interested the series in order is:
1. Plain Murder
2. Plain Killing
3. Plain Dead
4. Plain Missing
5. Plain Confession

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

His Guilt (Amish of Hart County #4) By Shelley Shepard Gray

his risk

Pages: 265 (Paperback)

Publisher: P.S. a trademark of HarperCollins

Published: March 6, 2018

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Calvin Fisher is caught between a rock and hard place trying to redeem himself after a lifetime of bad decisions. He wants to get out of gang life but the only way to accomplish that is work for the DEA. Either way he still has to hide his life from his family and do things that goes against the faith he was raised. A phone call from home has him rushing to his brother, Mark’s, side.

Alice has lead the life of a good Amish girl after a wild rumspringa and enjoys her life as an Amish preschool teacher even if she feels smothered at times by her family. To have some freedom, she has agreed to housesit for her brother and sister-in-law who live across from Mark. Alice has developed an interest in Calvin as she watches him from afar.

Will Calvin be able to leave his city life behind while in Hart County or will the city life destroy what he has come to love in this quiet community?

This is the fourth book in the Amish of Hart County series but reads as a stand alone book. I was captivated from the first sentence until the last. Gray has written a beautiful work of art set in my home state of Kentucky. I felt myself traveling the roads with Calvin and Alice and seeing the beauty of the rolling hills filled with Kentucky bluegrass.

His Risk is filled with romance and suspense. You have the budding romance of Calvin and Alice and the married romance of Mark and Wanetta that have the reader cheering and crying. My heart is still pounding from a few scenes and I am not talking about “that”. I am talking about suspense that keeps you turning the pages well past your bedtime.

I was so impressed with His Risk that I have already bought the first three books in the series and will read on my Spring Break from teaching. If interested the books in the series are:
1. Her Secret
2. His Guilt
3. The Gift
4. His Risk
5. Her Fear – release 7/24/18
6. His Promise – release 10/23/18

I dare you to give any of Shelley Shepard Gray’s books a read and not find yourself gobbling up all of them as fast as you can.

The View from Rainshadow Bay (Lavender Tides #1) by Colleen Coble

the view from rainshadow bay.jpg

Pages: 336 (eBook)

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Published: January 23, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

What a great way to start off my romantic suspense reading for 2018. I could not figure out who the bad guys were until they were revealed. I love that!

Shauna is trying to make a life for herself and her 5 year old son after her husband dies while on a rock climbing adventure with his best friend Zach. Zach has never been able to forgive himself for the death of Jack. One day while Shauna was visiting a family friend he gives her a box and told her to give it to his estranged wife for safekeeping. As she is driving away the house explodes killing her friend. Shauna realizes it was no ordinary explosion and that the mysterious box and its contents have something to do with the explosion. Shauna enlists the help of Zack even though she blames him for her husbands death. Can Shauna and Zach figure out why the box is so important before others are killed or worse them?

You will be on the edge of your seat reading The View from Rainshadow Bay. There are several mysteries tied into the main mystery and your mind will be continuing to think about what is happening next. I caught myself several times still reading at 3am as I could not put the book down. The characters are well thought out and every action and reaction is true life.

I cannot wait for the second book in the series to be released this July.

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for an advanced copy in exchange for a review based on my own thoughts and opinions.