Pockets of Promise (The Pocket Quilt Series #1) by Laurie Stroup Smith

pockets

Pages: 200

Published: April 30, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A beautiful debut novel by Laurie Stroup Smith. Her compassion for the broken-hearted comes through and leaves the reader striving to see love in a new light.

I love the idea of a quilt filled with letters. In Pockets of Promise, it was a way for a grandmother to share her story with her granddaughter and let the granddaughter know she was not alone in her search for love and herself. A treasure and tradition that could be passed down from generation to generation.

A perfect novel to share with the teenage romance reader in your life to introduce them to the Amish fiction/romance genre. A story that will be read many times over.

Amazon: Mariah Mast’s best friend, Josiah Weaver, has concentrated his efforts on providing for their future together, but on her eighteenth birthday, Mariah finds herself edging away from Josiah and her faith. An encounter with police, a misunderstanding of intentions, and hurt feelings compound her confusion. Her grandmother sends her to stay with an aunt in Pinecraft and gives her a pocket quilt with handwritten messages tucked inside.

Thrilled to have her help at the bed and breakfast, Aunt Birdie introduces Mariah to a group of new friends, including Luke Yoder, a young Amish man who works for his father’s construction company. Spending time with him opens up a new world for Mariah. Her grandmother’s words of wisdom offer guidance as she makes a decision that will have lasting consequences for those she loves. Will she find fulfillment in Florida? Or does her heart belong in Holmes County?

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

ocean

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.

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

farm

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?

Home to Stay (A Little Child Shall Lead Them #2) by Loree Lough

stay

Pages: 352

Publisher: Kensington Books

Published: April 28, 2020

Rating: 3.5/4 stars out of 5

My Review: I found myself almost giving up multiple times throughout the beginning of the book. I was a depressing read and I felt depressed as I read. It may have been what was going on in my personal life as I was reading (death of my mom) that caused me to think it was too depressing of a read.

The second half was better than the first for me. It saved the book and why it ended up four stars.

It is a clean read. Triggers of abuse, drug addiction, suicide, and depression.

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

NetGalley: In the New Order Amish community of Pleasant Valley, a helping hand is never far away, and a baby’s smile can be reason enough to start over—and risk love again . . .

Since losing his family in a tragic accident, building contractor Max Lambright can’t seem to find purpose in anything but hard work . . . until he meets feisty newcomer, Willa Reynolds. As she struggles to make a new life for herself and her baby girl, she challenges him in just about every possible way. Dare he hope that, alongside this spirited woman, he might rekindle his lost faith, and find the path to love and the family he craves?

Poor choices and a difficult past have inspired Willa to make better decisions for her precious Frannie, even if it means leaving the familiar behind and starting over . . . among strangers. As she adapts to the Amish ways, she learns about Max’s generous and steadfast nature. The loneliness he tries so hard to mask can’t be hidden . . . not from a woman with something to prove: Together, they can build their friendship into something that will forever stand as the cornerstone of a happy family . . .

Girls of Summer by Nancy Thayer

girls

Pages: 320

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine

Published: May 26, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: This was not my favorite of Nancy Thayer but it was still an enjoyable read.

I wished she had focused on Lisa and Mack’s relationship with the kids’ relationships as a secondary storyline. I never got a deep connection with any of the characters as I normally do. In fact, I think this storyline could have been a 2 or 3 book series focusing on Lisa and Mack, Theo and Beth, and Ryder and Juliet.

Girls of Summer is a good book for those lazy days at the pool or beach and you want a light read with a happy ending.

I received a complimentary book from the publisher, Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

 

NetGalley: One life-changing summer on Nantucket brings about exhilarating revelations for a single mother and her two grown children in this sensational novel from New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer.

Lisa Hawley is perfectly satisfied living on her own. Having fully recovered from a brutal divorce nearly two decades earlier, she has successfully raised her kids, Juliet and Theo, seeing them off to college and beyond. As the owner of a popular boutique on Nantucket, she’s built a fulfilling life for herself on the island where she grew up. With her beloved house in desperate need of repair, Lisa calls on Mack Whitney, a friendly—and very handsome—local contractor and fellow single parent, to do the work. The two begin to grow close, and Lisa is stunned to realize that she might be willing to open up again after all . . . despite the fact that Mack is ten years her junior.

Juliet and Theo worry that Mack will only break their mother’s heart—and they can’t bear to see her hurt again. Both stuck in ruts of their own, they each hope that a summer on Nantucket will provide them with the clarity they’ve been searching for. When handsome entrepreneur Ryder Hastings moves to the island to expand his environmental nonprofit, Juliet, an MIT-educated web designer, feels an immediate attraction, one her rocky love life history pushes her to deny at first. Meanwhile, free spirit Theo finds his California bliss comes to a brutal halt when a surfing injury forces him back to the East Coast. Upon his return, he has eyes only for Mack’s daughter, Beth, to whom he is bound by an unspeakable tragedy from high school. Can they overcome their past?

As the season unfolds, a storm threatens to shatter the peace of the golden island, forcing Lisa, Juliet, and Theo to decide whether their summer romances are destined for something more profound. Nancy Thayer dazzles again in this delightful tale of family, a reminder that sometimes, finding our way back home can bring us unexpected gifts.

The Trustworthy One (Walnut Creek #4) by Shelley Shepard Gray

trustworthy

Pages: 302

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: May 5, 2020

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

My Review: I say each book in my series is my favorite and it is true. The series gets better and better. Kendra’s story was so real and filled with love from all aspects. I have laughed, cried, and swooned while reading.

The hardest part of the book for me to get past was the cover. After reading I am not sure if I would have used that cover considering Kendra owns a shop filled with yarn and other household notions and Nate owns a hardware store. Not that a book cover is what makes the book.

The Trustworthy One is filled with love and friendships but it also discusses hard stuff like drug addiction and abuse.

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: New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray returns to the charming and evocative Walnut Creek Series with an unforgettable novel following one broken young woman whose search for peace leads her back to her hometown, where she rediscovers her faith and reconnects with those she loves most.

Kendra Troyer always knew she would leave Walnut Creek the first chance she got. When she was accepted into design school, she tried her best not to look back at the four siblings she was abandoning, but ahead to Columbus, where she was determined to stay—far away from her abusive home and far away from Nate Miller, the boy she vowed to despise for the rest of her life.

Though she suffered through dark times in Columbus, Kendra found her faith in the Lord again, and years later, when she learned one of her good friends had died, she realized it was time to go home to those she left behind.

Back in Walnut Creek, Kendra has a life she never could have imagined: her own design shop, a pretty little house, and a tight-knit group of friends. After she settles down, though, unexpected visitors come knocking and dark memories begin to resurface. Complicating things even further is the ever-present Nate Miller, who now owns the hardware store two doors down and whose very presence stirs in Kendra a fierce need to turn away and hide from her past. But Nate is persistent in setting things right between them.

As Kendra tries to come to terms with the anger she holds from her childhood, will she be able to open her heart to forgiveness and find the comfort she has always longed for in Walnut Creek?

The Crow’s Call (Amish Greenhouse Mystery #1) by Wanda Brunstetter

crow

Pages: 320

Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc./Shiloh Run Press

Published: March 1, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review:

This was a hard but therapeutic read for me since I just recently lost my mom. The Crow’s Call centers around a family who lost three members in one night to a tragic accident. I could not fathom as I am having a hard time with just one.

It is very different from Brunstetter’s usual romantic fiction in that we have a mystery that runs throughout and will continue in the second book, The Mockingbird’s Song. Even after a few days of finishing the novel I am still trying to figure the mystery. I like that as it keeps me thinking about the book until the next release.

While reading I saw some of the grieving processes I am experiencing and it made me realize it is ok. Grief is different for all. You grieve on your time and no one else’s.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Barbour Publishing, Inc/Shiloh Run Press, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Mysterious Events Plague a Greenhouse in Pennsylvania’s Amish Country

When Vernon King, his son, and son-in-law are involved in a terrible accident, three women are left to cope with their deaths, as they become the sole providers of the family they have left. The women’s only income must come from the family greenhouse, but someone seems to be trying to force them out of business.

Amy King has just lost her father and brother, and her mother needs her to help run the family’s greenhouse. It doesn’t seem fair to ask her to leave a job she loves, when there is still a sister and brother to help. But Sylvia is also grieving for her husband while left to raise three children, and Henry, just out of school, is saddled with all the jobs his father and older brother used to do. As Amy assumes her new role, she also asks Jared Riehl to put their courtship on hold. When things become even more stressful at the greenhouse, will Amy crumble under the pressure?

The Englisch Daughter by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall

daughter

Pages: 352

Publisher: Water Brook & Multnomah

Published: April 21, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review:

The Englisch Daughter was very different from the traditional Amish fiction I am used to reading and I liked that very much. You have a husband and wife who are not timid in showing their feelings towards one another. You have a daughter who is still single much later in life than is traditional for Amish and she follows her own heart and best of all she has her family’s support.

I enjoyed most of all the idea of an Amish rehab for addictions of all natures. I would love to read a story with this idea expanded. It shows that even those with the strongest faiths have demons within them that they fight on a daily basis. All of us do and sometimes it takes additional help to fight them.

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

NetGalley:

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BESTSELLER • A marriage is tested in this Old Order Amish novel of longing for renewed love and a path for forgiveness from the best-selling author of Gathering the Threads.

Old Order Amish wife and mother Jemima has put her marriage and family ahead of herself for years. She’s set herself aside. Raising four children, she’s followed all the rules and has been patient in looking forward to her time to chase a dream of her own.

But when she finds out that her life savings for pursuing that dream is gone—and her husband, Roy, has been hiding a child with another woman—her entire world is shattered. Will she be able to listen to God and love Roy’s child? With so much at stake, how can she and Roy fix their relationship before their lives come crashing down?

A Beautiful Arrangement (Amish Journeys #3) by Beth Wiseman

beautiful

Pages: 336

Publisher: Zondervan

Published: April 7, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: A moving story that leaves tears in your eyes as you close the book.

Lydia and Samuel’s story teaches us how even the littlest lies can turn into a bigger problem that can tear lives apart. At times I would get frustrated at Lydia then I had to remind myself that she is only seventeen. No matter her upbringing, being a mom and wife at seventeen has to be extremely hard. She is just learning herself as an adult instead of a kid. Her maturity by the end of the book was absolutely amazing. A lot of love and understanding can go a long way.

A Beautiful Arrangement talks about unwed pregnancy, young marriage, dementia/mental illness and community. A book that I would share with an older teen on up. A clean read with no sex scenes, no foul language, and no violence.

I am sad to see this series end. It has been a beautiful series to read.

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

 

NetGalley: Lydia still can’t believe that she is Mrs. Samuel Bontrager. Or that she is seventeen with a six-month-old daughter. As Baby Mattie grows fussier by the day, Lydia wonders how she will survive a lifetime of marriage to a man she doesn’t love—at least not in the way she wants.

Samuel knows that he and Lydia did the right thing by marrying when Lydia became pregnant. He has even grown to love Lydia, though he never seems able to say the words out loud. What if she doesn’t love him back? After all, she pushes him away whenever he tries to draw closer.

When Lydia and Samuel introduce their mutual friends Beverly and Joseph to each other, they are as envious as they are delighted to watch their friends fall in love. But just as Samuel thinks Lydia might be softening to him, she gets involved in investigating the mysterious past of a local homeless woman—a curiosity that threatens to drive the couple further apart.

The third and final novel in the Amish Journeys series by bestselling author Beth Wiseman explores how wounds from the past must come to light before they can hope to heal.