An Amish Picnic by Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin, Kathleen Fuller and Vannetta Chapman

picnic

Pages: 400

Publisher: Zondervan

Published: March 3, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A comforting read during this time of fear and uncertainty. A read that provides a few hours of escapism.

For fans of Amy Clipston, we get to know more about Phoebe from The Bake Shop. A great story to gently show up how we can make things more difficult than we need to at times.

Kelly Irvin reminds us love and friendship can be found in the most obvious places, right in front of our face.

Kathleen Fuller lets us know that family and friends are always willing to give you that gentle or not so gentle push towards love.

My favorite is the story from Vannetta Chapman. We get two love stories wrapped in one. When love is meant to be it will find a way no matter how long it takes.

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

NetGalley: From bestselling authors in the Amish genre come four sweet stories about picnics and romance.

Baskets of Sunshine by Amy Clipston
Kevin Weaver has lived with his brother’s family since his parents passed away when he was young, but he craves a home and family to call his own. Freeman Kurtz owns a successful brick mason business, and Kevin takes the job as Freeman’s apprentice to pursue his own financial freedom.

Phoebe Kurtz is helping her sister with her booth at the marketplace when she notices Kevin, her father’s employee. Their friendship grows, but Kevin is convinced that the difference in their ages makes a relationship between them impossible. Amidst summer outings, Kevin and Phoebe must decide if taking a chance on love is worth the risk.

Candlelight Sweethearts by Kelly Irvin
Esther Marie Shrock loves her job at Valley Grocery Store where she’s worked for four years. Despite a stutter that has plagued her since childhood, she thrives filling orders from a steady stream of customers. Still, at 25, she and her family wonder if romance is in her future.

Jasper Cotter isn’t good with people, but he’s found himself obligated to take over day-to-day operations of the family-owned grocery store—a store he doesn’t have the first clue how to run. Thrown together, Esther Marie and Jasper don’t exactly see eye to eye. One night, the store loses power, and the candles aren’t the only things shooting off sparks. Esther Marie and Jasper are suddenly forced to discover common ground when it matters most, and they might be surprised with love along the way.

Reeling in Love by Kathleen Fuller
Nina Stoll and Ira Yoder are just friends. Just friends and fishing buddies. Every Saturday afternoon, they have a picnic at their favorite fishing hole and see who can out fish the other. Until Nina starts to wonder if there’s more.

Her plans to share her feelings go awry and circumstances seem destined to keep Nina and Ira apart. With both Nina and Ira confused and hurting, it’s going to take courage, some help from the community matchmakers, and a little bit of divine intervention for Nina and Ira to realize they’re each other’s perfect catch.

Picnics and Prospects by Vannetta Chapman
Faith Troyer is claustrophobic, and David Lapp builds tiny houses. They went on a date years ago with disastrous results. Now that they’re in their late twenties, their families and friends are beginning to wonder if either will ever find that special someone. When a picnic outing is diverted by the discovery of a package of letters dating back to the 1970s, they take it upon themselves to find answers to a mystery that causes them to rethink their past and consider their future.

One Little Lie (The Pelican Harbor #1) by Colleen Coble

one

Pages: 354

Publisher: Thomas Nelson – Fiction

Published: March 3, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I was not happy with the ending! Why, do you ask? The ending left cliffhangers I wasn’t expecting. I thought I still had another chapter to go. I wanted closure.

One Little Lie kept me riveted to the edge of my seat. I was surprised so many times that I lost count. I’m happy to learn that book two is set to be released in September.

The is a clean Christian suspense with a little romance. There is mild violence but nothing with gory detail.

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

NetGalley: It started with one little lie. But Jane Hardy will do everything in her power to uncover the truth in this gripping new romantic suspense.

Jane Hardy is appointed interim sheriff in Pelican Harbor, Alabama after her father retires, but there’s no time for an adjustment period. When her father is arrested for theft and then implicated in a recent murder, Jane quickly realizes she’s facing someone out to destroy the only family she has.

After escaping with her father from a cult fifteen years ago, Jane has searched relentlessly for her mother—who refused to leave—ever since. Could someone from that horrible past have found them?

Reid Bechtol is well-known for his documentaries, and his latest project involves covering Jane’s career. Jane has little interest in the attention, but the committee who appointed her loves the idea of the publicity.

Jane finds herself depending on Reid’s calm manner as he follows her around filming, and they begin working together to clear her father. But Reid has his own secrets from the past, and the gulf between them may be impossible to cross—especially once her father’s lie catches up with him.

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

regret

Pages: 365

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Published: December 10, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Wow, I did not realize this was a young adult novel until after I read it. I did not get that vibe while reading and I love that fact. Now knowing that it is a YA novel, I love one of the underlying messages so much more. Don’t assume you know what is going on in someone else’s thoughts or lives. Ask before judging. A lesson I think young adults and older adults need to remember. So many conflicts and hurts could be avoided if we just talked to one another. And I mean talk not text or message. Good face to face talking.

The alternating chapters between mom and daughter were interesting and keep the pace of the story moving quickly. I did not find any confusion moving between the alternating viewpoints as the author kept the plot at the same point. For example, if Mom was worried about daughter missing school the next chapter was daughter explaining her viewpoint of why she missed school.

This is not what I considered a clean read. There is pre-marital sex, drug use, and cursing.

This was my first Colleen Hoover book and it will not be my last. I am intrigued by the author’s writing.

Goodreads: From #1 New York Times bestselling author of It Ends with Us comes a poignant novel about family, first love, grief, and betrayal that will touch the hearts of both mothers and daughters.

Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike.

Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body.

With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.

While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together.

A Fatal Faberge (Antiques and Collectibles #8) by Ellery Adams and Parker Riggs

fatal

Pages: 185

Publisher: Beyond the Page

Published: February 3, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Another solid cozy mystery from Ellery Adams. Amateur sleuth, Molly, is a joy to follow as she investigates local murders wherever she is. In the eighth installment, we find her at home in Vermont during a cold winter. Her little one is growing like a weed, her family is settled and she feels apart of her community. While attending a fundraiser, a local rare bookseller has died under mysterious circumstances. Molly’s curiosity gets the best of her and she finds herself in a world of privilege. The center of the investigation is around a Faberge egg that has been hidden within a local family for years.

I admit I love to read about the Russian era centered around the Faberge eggs. I cannot even say why but I find myself drawn to the stories writers have weaved. My only wish is there had been more history given about the egg but that is a personal wish as what is given in the story is perfect.

A Fatal Faberge can be read as a standalone. There is enough backstory given without dragging down the readers who have read the entire story but gives new readers the connections needed. The mystery provides the necessary red herrings to make the reader question their guesses to the killer.

An entertaining read for cozy mystery fans of all ages.

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

NetGalley: In the world of antiques and collectibles, it helps to have a sharp eye for quality, a good ear for gossip, and a nose for murder . . .

In the grips of a cold and drab autumn, Collector’s Weekly reporter Molly Appleby is thrilled to be attending a festive black-tie fundraiser hosted by the very private Natasha Gordon, an heiress known for her charitable events and aversion to the limelight. It’s Molly’s first chance to see the stunning interior of the Gordon estate, but when a rare book dealer is pushed from a high window to his death, she’s confronted with a sight that’s become all too common for her. And despite the fact that the crude and pompous victim was roundly disliked by all who knew him and that any number of people may have wanted him dead, Molly agrees to look into the murder for his surviving son.

As the police go about their steady business of interviewing the dozens of people in attendance that night, Molly decides to look closer to home and begins questioning the staff and anyone else connected to the estate and the victim. More and more stories of the dead man’s troubled life and marriage begin to emerge, including a potentially lucrative deal that’s gone bust and an old Gordon family heirloom that’s gone missing—a rare jeweled Fabergé egg once owned by the Empress Alexandra of Russia.

When clues to the murderer’s identity begin to accumulate, so too do the threats to Molly, and she knows she’s getting close to the truth. But with a secret family history and an untold amount of money on the line, Molly knows she’ll need to tread carefully before she becomes the latest victim of a killer trying to cover their tracks . . .

An Unlikely Amish Match (Indiana Amish Brides #5) by Vannetta Chapman

unlikely

Pages: 218

Publisher: Love Inspired (Harlequin)

Published: February 1, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My review: I thoroughly enjoyed reading book five in the Indiana Amish Bride series. The story between Susannah and Micah is a bit different than your typical Amish romance stories. Why do you ask? Susannah is recovering from cancer and feels she will never fulfill and Amish man’s dreams of a large family. She has let that color her view of her future and at 25 years old feels like an old maid. Micah is straddling the fence between the Englisch world and his Amish upbringing. At 25 years old he wants to be Amish but at the same time cannot find his footing in the Amish world. He thinks outside the box and sometimes that goes against the stricter views of the Ordung. When they team up together they realize they bring out the best in each other.

An Unlikely Amish Match left me full of smiles. Vannetta Chapman has written another beautiful love story that is sure to bring happiness to anyone who reads her newest romance.

Goodreads: Is she about to fall for trouble?

She could never love an Amish rebel…Or could she?

Susannah Beiler is determined to protect the other young marriageable Amish women from falling for the new bad boy in town…by pretending to date Micah Fisher herself! Their deal is simple: she’ll keep him company if he stays away from her friends. But she doesn’t count on finding out there’s more to Micah than his reputation…

When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal

mermaids

Pages: 348

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Published: July 16, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: My friend recommended this book and I am so glad she did. It was excellent. A very strong drama with a lot of heartaches. Beautifully written. Strong female characters.

Goodreads: Her sister has been dead for fifteen years when she sees her on the TV news…

Josie Bianci was killed years ago on a train during a terrorist attack. Gone forever. It’s what her sister, Kit, an ER doctor in Santa Cruz, has always believed. Yet all it takes is a few heart-wrenching seconds to upend Kit’s world. Live coverage of a club fire in Auckland has captured the image of a woman stumbling through the smoke and debris. Her resemblance to Josie is unbelievable. And unmistakable. With it comes a flood of emotions—grief, loss, and anger—that Kit finally has a chance to put to rest: by finding the sister who’s been living a lie.

After arriving in New Zealand, Kit begins her journey with the memories of the past: of days spent on the beach with Josie. Of a lost teenage boy who’d become part of their family. And of a trauma that has haunted Kit and Josie their entire lives.
Now, if two sisters are to reunite, it can only be by unearthing long-buried secrets and facing a devastating truth that has kept them apart far too long. To regain their relationship, they may have to lose everything.

The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel

winemakers

Pages: 401

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: August 13, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: I admit when my friend suggested this book for our monthly buddy read I was like ok. I wasn’t thrilled and the reason being was the cover turned me off. It felt ugly and boring and every time I looked it I thought the story would be too. I was WRONG! The story is anything but boring. I describe the story as fascinating, heartbreaking, triumphant and riveting.

I have read quite a few WWII historical fiction novels lately that go from present to past as alternating viewpoints throughout the story but for some reason, this felt fresh and exciting to read. The story of Ines, Celine, Michel, and Edith feels so real that as you read you physically experience what they are as much as you can. I admit I full out bawled the last 50 pages. I still get teary-eyed thinking about the ending.

Look past the cover and give this book a try. I think you will be as moved as I was.

Goodreads: The author of the engrossing international bestseller The Room on Rue Amélie returns with a moving story set amid the champagne vineyards of northern France during the darkest days of World War II, perfect for fans of Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale.

Champagne, 1940: Inès has just married Michel, the owner of storied champagne house Maison Chauveau, when the Germans invade. As the danger mounts, Michel turns his back on his marriage to begin hiding munitions for the Résistance. Inès fears they’ll be exposed, but for Céline, half-Jewish wife of Chauveau’s chef de cave, the risk is even greater—rumors abound of Jews being shipped east to an unspeakable fate.

When Céline recklessly follows her heart in one desperate bid for happiness, and Inès makes a dangerous mistake with a Nazi collaborator, they risk the lives of those they love—and the champagne house that ties them together.

New York, 2019: Liv Kent has just lost everything when her eccentric French grandmother shows up unannounced, insisting on a trip to France. But the older woman has an ulterior motive—and a tragic, decades-old story to share. When past and present finally collide, Liv finds herself on a road to salvation that leads right to the caves of the Maison Chauveau.

 

Finding Home (The Baxter Children #2) by Karen Kingsbury

home

Pages: 320

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing

Published: February 25, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I’m a fan of Kingsbury’s Baxter Family series even though I have not nearly read enough of them. It is definitely a series I like to savor and take my time to read. I was very excited last year to read about the creation of a new series centering around the Baxter children. I am happy to say that book two was just as good as the first.

I find it refreshing to read a children’s book that highlights kids using their imagination during playtime. Being a teacher, I am saddened how many children cannot free-write stories using their imagination because they do not know how to imagine. I constantly hear stories from my littles telling me that they go home and watch hours of endless TV, Youtube or play video games that are far too adult for them. So many rarely go outside and pretend they are on an island made of lava and find ways to escape.

I love how Finding Home teaches right from wrong and being humble. No matter the age of the reader (child or adult) I think we all could learn from it. Even a gentle reminder. Being humble is a wonderful trait but one of the hardest in today’s society.

Finding Home is a great read-aloud for families.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Summer is over and Dad begins his important position at an Indiana hospital. Like it or not, Bloomington is the Baxter Family’s new home. As school starts, everyone finds reasons to be excited about the move. Everyone that is except Ashley. Ashley desperately misses the home and friends she left behind. As she realizes her siblings have their struggles, too, she can’t help but wonder if unlikely friends can be the best friends of all? And could time and love from her family be enough to make a house feel like home?

In the second book in the Baxter Family Children series, #1 New York Times bestselling Karen Kingsbury and Tyler Russell tell the funny and poignant tale of the Baxter children finding home!

Amish Front Porch Stories: 18 Tales of Simple Faith and Wisdom by Wanda, Jean and Richelle Brunstetter

front

Pages: 352

Publisher: Shiloh Run Press

Published: November 1, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: This book left me contented and inspired to be more understanding of those around me. My plan was to read a story a day but once I started reading I could not put it down. A few stories left me wanting more just because I fell in love with the characters. My favorite was how each chapter ended in a bible verse.

I look forward to buying this book as a gift for several readers in my life.

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

NetGalley: Come and sit a while as you enjoy 18 fictional short stories of love, joy, and the peace found in Amish country.

Amish Country is known for an atmosphere of peace and quiet, perfect for front-porch sitting with a good book. Join New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter, her daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, as they share 18 heartwarming stories from Amish Country. These fictional short stories include journeys we can all relate to as we seek how to live led by love, joy, peace, patience, and other Fruits of the Spirit. Meet Anna, who struggles to show love to a cantankerous neighbor; Laura, who endures infertility; Nora, whose pride threatens to consume her life; and other women who walk in their faith each day.

The Amish Teacher’s Dilemma by Patricia Davids

teacher

Pages: 224

Publisher: Harlequin (Love Inspired)

Published: February 18, 2020 (paperback)/March 1, 2020 (e-book)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A sweet romance story that will leave you believing love can conquer anything.

A clean romance from all aspects that a mother can feel very comfortable letting her teenage daughter read. There is no worry that a steamy love scene will pop up unexpectedly or unnecessary foul language will break the flow of a beautiful love story.

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

NetGalley: The teacher next door could be the mother they need…

Will she return to her old life…or risk everything to build a new one?

Taking a schoolteacher position in another district is just the change Amish spinster Eva Coblentz needs. And with her new neighbor, blacksmith Willis Gingrich, struggling to raise his three orphaned siblings, Eva is determined to help them heal. But when her relatives insist she come home, Eva must choose between the life she left…and the one she’s growing to love.