Two Steps Forward (The Deacon’s Family #3) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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Pages: 319

Publisher: Revell

Published: February 4, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I am so sad this is the conclusion to the Deacon’s Family. I have become a fan of Luke Schrock and I’ll be the first to admit that I could not stand him when I first started reading about him. Self-centered little jerk is what he was but he is proof that people can change. I thought pretty much the same of Jimmy Fisher but he did have a grumpy mom and that would make anyone have a hard heart.

I found I was unable to put this book down as I have all the others. Once you delve into Stoney Ridge you don’t want to leave. The real world is put on hold and you are transported to a community with problems just like ours but you know things will eventually work out.

Each book in the series can be read as a standalone but I heavily suggest reading in order. Reading in order allows you to be more invested with the characters.

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

NetGalley: Back and broke in Stoney Ridge, Jimmy Fisher has coasted as long as he could through life on charm, good looks, and deep-set dimples. They always worked just fine for him–until they didn’t. His smile has no effect on the violet-eyed beauty he met at the Bent N’ Dent, the one with that stunning horse. She’s offered him a job, but nothing else.

The last thing Sylvie Schrock King needs around Rising Star Farm is a grown boy working for her, especially her neighbor Edith’s son. The woman holds a serious grudge against Sylvie and her son, and hiring Jimmy Fisher will only fan the flames of Edith’s rancor. But Sylvie is desperate for help on the farm, and Jimmy understands horses like no one else.

While Jimmy’s lazy smile and teasing ways steal Sylvie’s heart, Edith is working on a way to claim her land. Has Sylvie made another terrible mistake? Or is it too late to outfox the fox? More importantly . . . just who is the fox?

Writing with both wit and warmth, Fisher delivers a supremely satisfying conclusion to the popular Deacon’s Family series.

Amish Country Undercover by Katy Lee

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Pages: 224

Publisher: Harlequin – Romance (US & Canada)

Published: February 4, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A fast-paced edge of your seat read. As many of you already know I am a huge fan of Amish fiction and Love Inspired has done a great job in adding some adventure to the typical Amish fiction.

I especially liked Amish Country Undercover as it took place in my home state of Kentucky. Grace has spunkiness that at times pushes the limits of her faith but she needs it to keep her family together.

This is the perfect read for any romance reader out there who also likes adventure.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Harlequin – Romance (US & Canada), through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Secrets, sabotage and small-town danger.

Someone wants an Amish woman dead.

Taking the reins of her father’s Amish horse-trading business, Grace Miller’s prepared for backlash over breaking community norms—but not for sabotage. Now someone’s willing to do anything it takes to make sure she fails, and it’s undercover FBI agent Jack Kaufman’s mission to stop them. But can Jack face his own Amish past long enough to shield Grace from a killer?

Stitches in Time (The Deacon’s Family #2) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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Pages: 330

Publisher: Revell

Published: October 1, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Stoney Ridge, Pennsylvania has to be one of the most interesting towns to live in as there is never a dull moment. For this visit we had a surprise deacon election, a need for foster parents and a trampoline terrorizing sheep just to name a few.

Woods went in a direction that I’ve not seen before in Amish fiction and maybe that is because I’ve not read enough yet. She incorporated a group of African American foster children. I loved it as it promoted positive love among races. I’m not saying that to start a race\discrimination discussion. I’m saying because this is what we need for our future. Families want children to live no matter skin color, country of origin or difference in religious background. Kids just want to be wanted and loved.

The premise of the story is We all have dropped stitches in our life like dear of trusting others and we need someone to be out stitch in time to fix our dropped stitch. I found the imagery of knitting and not leaving a dropped stitch as it would cause a hole very fitting and beautiful. If we don’t go back and mend our dropped stitches in life we can’t be our best. I know I have dropped stitches I need to fix. I think we all do.

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

NetGalley: Detachment had worked well as a life strategy for horse trainer Sam Schrock. Until he met Mollie Graber . . .

New to Stoney Ridge, schoolteacher Mollie has come to town for a fresh start. Aware of how fleeting and fragile life is, she wants to live it boldly and bravely. When Luke Schrock, new to his role as deacon, asks the church to take in foster girls from a group home, she’s the first to raise her hand. The power of love, she believes, can pick up the dropped stitches in a child’s heart and knit them back together.

Mollie envisions sleepovers and pillow fights. What the 11-year-old twins bring to her home is anything but. Visits from the sheriff at midnight. Phone calls from the school truancy officer. And then the most humiliating moment of all: the girls accuse Mollie of drug addiction.

There’s only one thing that breaks through the girls’ hardshell–an interest in horses. Reluctantly and skeptically, Sam Schrock gets drawn into Mollie’s chaotic life. What he didn’t expect was for love to knit together the dropped stitches in his own heart . . . just in time.

Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to the little Amish church of Stoney Ridge for a touching story of the power of love.

Hannah’s Courage (The Amish Charm Bakery #3) by Molly Jebber

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Pages: 336

Publisher: Kensington

Published: January 28, 2020

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

My Review: Let me start off that just because I have this book 3 stars does not mean it is terrible. It is a good read but I felt like it should be marketed as a young adult series. I personally feel it reads very simply and it distracts from the story.

I have read all three books in the series and will continue to read more if there are to be more. The storyline is interesting and I am invested in the characters.

As with the other two, I feel things move very quickly and everything is resolved very easily. This series is a great book to read and relax. It is a clean romance safe for the teenager in your life.

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: A loaf of fragrant cinnamon bread for breakfast . . . a sweet and creamy custard pie for dessert. In 1912 Ohio, the Amish Charm Bakery has something to delight locals and visiting Englischer alike. And within this warm, welcoming community, there’s always room for love to grow . . .

Hannah Lapp’s life, like a long-cherished recipe, is satisfying just the way it is. She enjoys whipping up desserts at the bakery, tutoring local children, and socializing with dear friends. One of those friends, Timothy Barkman, has made his interest in Hannah clear, but she’s been in no hurry to change her circumstances.

No sooner does she feel ready to grow closer to hard-working, handsome Timothy than Hannah finds she may have waited too long. Charlene Shetler intends to become Timothy’s fraa. It’s little wonder he’s attracted to such a pretty, forthright young woman, but is the newcomer all that she seems? Only when Hannah is willing to confront some difficult truths can she move bravely toward a life of abiding faith and love . . .

The Protective One (Walnut Creek #3) by Shelley Shepard Gray

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Pages: 304

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: January 21, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: I was blown away by The Protective One. Gray did an amazing job handling the very sensitive subject of abuse. Not only did she center her story of Elizabeth and Will around the physical abuse Elizabeth’s student suffers from her husband but she also shows how mental and verbal abuse can be just as damaging and traumatic.

I found myself lying awake long after I finished the book thinking about the characters. Gray showed us that every one of us is affected by abuse in some way. Whether we experience it first hand or know someone who has been abused in some way. I loved how she showed strong friendships can endure almost anything and if we have them we can seek the help we need.

The Protective One will have you laughing and crying from one moment to the next. It is a powerful book that I feel can give someone the courage they need to get out of an abusive relationship.

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: The tragic and untimely death of her old friend has made Elizabeth rethink not only her priorities but her relationship with David, the man her parents have been encouraging her to see. Desperate for a change, she breaks things off with David in an effort to just focus on herself for a while.

But when her family becomes upset with her decision, Elizabeth turns to her friends for support. One of her most supporting friends is Will, who has long secretly harbored feelings for her. And when Elizabeth’s ex unexpectedly raises some trouble, Will decides to step up to the plate for his long-time friend. Can their friendship survive this difficult time or will it actually change for the better?

The Innkeeper’s Bride (Amish Brides of Birch Creek #3) by Kathleen Fuller

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Pages: 320

Publisher: Zondervan Fiction

Published: January 14, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Finally, we have Selah’s story and let me tell you it was worth the wait. I am not ashamed to admit for the first two books I could not stand Selah as I thought she was whiney, spiteful and at times hateful. Now that I understand why I want to go back and read the first two again as see her behavior with a different attitude. The story has reminded me not to judge others’ bad attitudes so quick as there may be a reason behind their bad behavior.

Although this is the third book in the Amish Brides of Birch Creek series you can read as a stand-alone with no problems. Each story deals with an individual couple and other characters make appearances. Each story is a clean romance with no sex or foul language.

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

NetGalley: When Selah Ropp returns to Birch Creek, she is a different person than when she left. I know I haven’t done much listening in the past, Lord, she prays. But I’m listening now. Her new friend, Cevilla Schlabach, urges her to let go of regrets and allow this to be a fresh start. Cevilla herself, though, hides a secret longing behind her weathered face.

Levi Stoll and his family spent a year transforming a large English house into a small inn. Now that they are open for business, Levi is pleased to have Selah join them as an employee—as long as his grandmother doesn’t try any matchmaking schemes on the two of them. After all, Selah seems as guarded as he feels, and the last thing he wants is for anyone to remind him of his history.

With Kathleen Fuller’s trademark humor and memorable characters, The Innkeeper’s Bride reminds us that God’s grace in the present and our hope for the future is stronger than any pain of the past.

Grateful American by Gary Sinise

 

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Pages: 305

Publisher: HarperCollins – Zondervan

Published: February 12, 2019

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

My Review: An interesting look in how Gary Sinise became one of the most prominent military and first responders supporters. It was nice to read about an actor who uses his popularity for a good thing. As a daughter of a Korean War and retired Army, I want to say thank you to him for caring and helping those in need.

In regards to his personal life, I had no idea he has been married to his wife for 40+ years. Congrats. What an accomplishment in these modern times. I also did not know all the movies he has been in and now want to try and watch them all.

If you are looking for a positive Hollywood story Grateful American is the book for you. Available now from your favorite book retailer.

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

NetGalley: As a kid in suburban Chicago, Gary Sinise was more interested in sports and rock ‘n’ roll than reading or schoolwork. But when he impulsively auditioned for a school production of West Side Story, he found his purpose–or so it seemed.
Within a few years, Gary and a handful of friends created what became one of the most exciting and important new theater companies in America. From its humble beginnings in a suburban Chicago church basement and eventual move into the city, the Steppenwolf Theatre Company launched a series of groundbreaking productions, igniting Gary’s career along with those of John Malkovich, Joan Allen, Gary Cole, Laurie Metcalf, Jeff Perry, John Mahoney, and others. Television and film came calling soon after, and Gary starred in Of Mice and Men (which he also directed) and The Stand before taking the role that would change his life in unforeseeable ways: Lieutenant Dan in the Academy Award-winning Forrest Gump.

The military community’s embrace of the character of the disabled veteran was matched only by the depth of Gary’s realization that America’s defenders had not received all the honor, respect, and gratitude their sacrifices deserve. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, this became Gary’s mission. While starring in hits like Apollo 13, Ransom, Truman, George Wallace, CSI: NY, and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Gary has worked tirelessly on behalf of those who serve this country, entertaining more than a half-million troops around the world playing bass guitar with his Lt. Dan Band, raising funds on behalf of veterans, and eventually founding the Gary Sinise Foundation with a mission to serve and honor America’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need.

Grateful American is the moving, entertaining, profoundly gripping story of how one man found his calling: to see that those who defend this country and its freedoms are never forgotten.

Matchmaking Can Be Murder by Amanda Flowers

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Pages: 336

Publisher: Kensington Books

Published: December 31, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A fun spinoff from Amanda Flowers Amish Candy Shop mysteries set in Harvest, Ohio. I do believe Aenti (Auntie) Millie is going to a favorite Amish character like the Felty’s from Jennifer Beckstrand’s Huckleberry Hill series. You can’t help but love the nosy elders.

Several characters from the Amish Candy Shop make appearances (Jethro the Pig) and add to the small-town atmosphere. I’m very excited to see how each series progresses and feeds off each other. If anyone can make it happen, Amanda Flower can.

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: Matchmaking can be murder . . .

When widowed Millie Fisher moves back to her childhood home of Harvest, Ohio, she notices one thing right away—the young Amish are bungling their courtships and marrying the wrong people! A quiltmaker by trade, Millie has nevertheless stitched together a few lives in her time, with truly romantic results. Her first mission? Her own niece, widowed gardener Edith Hochstetler, recently engaged to rude, greedy Zeke Miller. Anyone can see he’s not right for such a gentle young woman—except Edith herself.

Pleased when she convinces the bride-to-be to leave her betrothed before the wedding, Millie is later panicked to find Zeke in Edith’s greenhouse—as dead as a tulip in the middle of winter. To keep her niece out of prison—and to protect her own reputation—Millie will have to piece together a patchwork of clues to find a killer before she becomes the next name on his list . . .

As the Tide Comes In by Cindy Woodsmall

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Pages: 352

Publisher: WaterBrook & Multnomah

Published: August 21, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: A beautiful story of heartache, love, and trust God.

I read this story in under twelve hours as I could not put it down. My poor husband had to finish fixing dinner as I was not stopping. Tara’s story will worm its way into your heart and soul and will not let go. You will find yourself crying and not even realizing it.

Beware if you are experiencing a hard time with grief over losing a loved one. This book is all about how to learn to let the hurt go, turn it over to God and cherish the memories you have with the loved one. When you are ready I would recommend reading it as it may help heal your pain.

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

NetGalley: A New York Times best-selling author releases her first southern novel, a Steel Magnolias-meets-Sweet Home Alabama story set on St. Simons Island.

When an unthinkable loss sends Tara Abbott’s life spiraling out of control, she journeys from North Carolina to Georgia’s St. Simons Island. Although confused and scared, she hopes to find answers about her past – her life before the years of foster care and raising her two half-brothers as a young adult. Will she find steady ground on the island, surrounded by an eccentric-but-kindhearted group of older women called The Glynn Girls and a determined firefighter? Or will the truth splinter what’s left of her identity into pieces?

Abraham (The Petersheim Brothers #2) by Jennifer Beckstrand

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Pages: 352

Publisher: Kensington

Published: November 26, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: My favorite Jennifer Beckstrand books are the ones with Anna and Felty but the Petersheim twins are running a close second.

Abraham is the second older brother the twins have decided needs to get married so they can get their room back. Just think two impish boys, chickens and a dog. Be prepared for many laughs as you read.

I alternated between reading and listening to the audiobook. I enjoyed the audiobook very much as it made holiday cooking go by very quickly.

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: Known as “The Peanut Butter Brothers” for their Wisconsin family business, hardworking Andrew, Abraham, and Austin Petersheim have their plates too full for romance—until their little siblings decide to play matchmaker . . .

With their house full to bursting since Mammi and Dawdi moved back in, the Petersheim twins know the only way to get their bedroom back is to get their older brothers married off. But Abraham is so shy, he’ll barely speak to girls. Still, they’ve noticed how he looks at Emma Wengerd at church. Emma is so talkative, Abraham’s quiet ways wouldn’t matter a bit. Soon, the boys have hatched a scheme that sends Abraham right to Emma’s door—and her chicken coop . . .

Abraham doubts that pretty, popular Emma would be interested in him. Yet when he finds himself by her side, having to straighten out the twins’ mischief—more than once—he can’t help imagining a future with her. And the more time they spend together, the more Abraham realizes that perhaps no matter how many boys buzz around Emma, with faith, it’s only the right one that counts . . .