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.

Ellie’s Redemption (An Amish Charm Bakery #2) by Molly Jebber

ellie

Pages: 288

Publisher: Kensington/Zebra

Published: January 29, 2019

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

After experiencing the English world for a bit, Ellie has returned to her Amish community and enjoys working with her stepmom in the bakery. Joel and his family have just moved to Charm for a new chance. He is not aware of Ellie’s past and finds himself falling for her. When her past comes to light will Joel be able to forgive her and continue to love her?

As I felt with the first book in the series, I find it hard to review a book that I just liked and not loved. It is not the author’s fault if the book did not speak to me. I have read many reviews where others loved it. My main issue remains the same as I felt the story was rushed. It seemed to jump from one thing to another and ideas were not given a full follow through as I am used to in other Amish novels.

This is Ellie’s story and I’m still not impressed with her behavior. At times she still acted like a brat and I found myself shaking my head in disgust at her.

Will I continue with the series if there are more? I honestly don’t know. I’m leaning towards this series not being my cup of tea.

Please do not use my review as a judge if you want to read the book. Read the book yourself and make your own opinion. What doesn’t speak to me may speak volumes to you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book 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 Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay

rain

Pages: 240

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: October 30, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Linden is in Paris to celebrate his father’s birthday with just the family. Unfortunately, Paris is flooding at a rapid rate due to neverending rain and both parents get sick. As Linden tries to care for his father at the hospital he starts realizing he may not have much time left to bond with his father.

My feelings have run from I did not like the book at all (2 stars) to wow, what a powerful message (4 stars). After sitting here a couple of hours after finishing I have decided on a four-star review. I started this book thinking it was mainly about the flood and how it would bring the family together but it is about so much more. The moral I got out of the book is tragedy makes you see things you gloss over in life or refuse to see due to your own shortsightedness. Instead of assuming what others think or see about you, ask them. It is much better than letting the wrong thoughts fester for years. You may lose out on something remarkable being shortsighted.

There are no steamy sex scenes but there is a gay storyline. I don’t remember a lot of obscene language so if there is any it must be minimal and feel right for the story. Of course, tons of Paris landmarks are mentioned so allow yourself time to look them up if you are not familiar with them.

This was my first book by Tatiana de Rosnay and I have already bought Sarah’s Key to read soon.

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

The Light Before Day (Nantucket Legacy #3) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

light

Pages: 368

Publisher: Revell

Published: October 2, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Henry and Hitty have inherited their grandmother’s vast fortune with a few hitches. They must live in her monstrosity of a house and marry a Quaker in good standing within six years. If they do not meet these requests conniving Tristam Macy will inherit all with no conditions. How will Henry and Hitty handle their grandmother’s request and what will they learn of themselves in the process?

I have absolutely loved this series. I found my love of Nantucket through a couple of other writers and it is on my bucket list to visit someday. I jumped at the chance to learn about the early days of Nantucket. Suzanne has taken the time to research and include true occurrences in this trilogy. My favorite is the third book. I know some readers felt the author rushed the ending and left a few things unfinished but isn’t that how life is? Not everything is tied up in a neat little bow. I also want to dream that she might have left it open to revisiting someday.

The trilogy is written in old English with “thee” and “thy” used very frequently. Once you get used to that you will find yourself falling into the story and not realizing the language difference. For this alone, I would say it is more appropriate for a mature audience. There is no sex or obscene language in the books.

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

The Amish Sweet Shop by Emma Miller, Laura Bradford and Mary Ellis

sweetshop

Pages: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Published: December 18, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A sweet read to get you ready for Valentine’s Day. Perfect for the romance reader in your life.

THE SWEETEST COURTSHIP by Emma Miller
Grouchy Jacob Beechy is no match for his mother, who has taken it upon herself to find him a wife. Rose has come to town for a change of scenery and ends up crossing paths with Jacob’s mom. Come sit a spell in Beechy’s Sweets and watch love melt even the hardest heart in town. By the end of the story, you will be craving fudge with a side of romance.

THE SWEETEST TRUTH by Laura Bradford ***My favorite of the three stories***
A horrific barn fire several years ago changed the life Sadie thought she would have so she has made the life she feels most comfortable living. When a secret admirer starts leaving little gifts for her to find on her lunch break, Sadie’s heart starts to soften and she allows herself to dream again. This story will make you smile and your heart tapdance with happiness.

NOTHING TASTES SO SWEET by Mary Ellis
A freak accident suddenly widows Hannah who has just found out she is pregnant. Hannah is thankful for her job at the local hardware store but when the job is in jeopardy Hannah learns she is stronger than she thinks. A sweet tale of how sometimes romance can find a way to heal even the most broken of hearts.

I love reading Amish romance novellas during the holidays as the stories are usually short enough to read in between all the hustle and bustle. You are always guaranteed a happy ending and a smile. Even if Valentine’s Day is not your holiday, you will be happy to read these sweet stories. Grab a box of yummy chocolates, put on your fuzzy socks and curl up in your comfy reading chair for one of the sweetest reads of the season.

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

The Teacher’s Bride (Amish Brides of Birch Creek) by Kathleen Fuller

teacher

Pages: 320

Publisher: Zondervan Fiction

Published: December 4, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Christian moved to Birch Creek to accept the teaching position and in hopes, it would widen his availability to find a wife. When a sprained ankle sidelines home for a few days, he has to depend on “accident waiting to happen” Ruby to cover his class. Will Christian be able to see past Ruby’s clumsiness to find the love she has to offer?

The Teacher’s Bride has plenty of laughs to offer between Christian and Ruby. You will be laughing out loud aplenty. I think many of yes will be able to relate to how both get nervous and tongue-tied and clumsy when wanting to impress someone.

My opinion on Christian’s sister, Selah, is still out. I had to remind myself several times as I was reading that she is only 19 years old and 19-year-olds can be very selfish and self-centered. I hope her story is explored more in a future novel.

I enjoy the way Kathleen Fuller writes. It like a warm hug on a cold night; comforting and welcoming. I would have no problems giving her books to young teen girls to read as they are clean and wholesome.

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

The Christmas Remedy by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall

remedy

Pages: 208

Publisher: WaterBrook & Multnomah

Published: October 23, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Since her father’s death, Holly has been able to live a different life for being Amish. She started working at Green’s Pharmacy in town and she realized she loved being able to help her people with health questions. Her bishop has allowed her to get her GED, become a pharmacy tech and now take classes to become a licensed practicing nurse. This will allow her to answer customer questions when it comes to her deliveries of their medicines. She knows her love for her job will keep her from getting married or so she thinks. Holly did not expect to find someone like Joshua.

Joshua knows Holly from some local singings but then she disappeared. He never expected to run into her on her worst day. He runs to Greene’s Pharmacy to pick up his mother’s new diabetes medicine but when he gets there the pharmacy is closed. Holly returns from her deliveries and becomes concerned when the pharmacy is still closed. As she opens up she finds Mr. Greene laying in the floor. With Josh’s help she able to get Mr. Greene the help he needs.

What will happen to the pharmacy and can Holly control her heart when Josh is around? Will her career stop before it even began?

I could not put this book down. The idea of an Amish being able to follow her calling without having to leave the faith was a wonderful change. If you think about it what could be better. We all trust those most like us, it is human nature. Holly understands their hesitancy to take medicine and go against the belief of “it is God’s will”. Her goal is to prevent deaths that were preventable if they had just gone to the doctor and took their medicine as prescribed.

I applaud the Woodsmall’s for creating an Amish male character that is open to change and seeing the woman not just as a homemaker. Josh understands that Holly is invested in her community and is willing to give up a life with another to help keep her community healthy.

A beautifully written tale of romance and change. If you like Christian fiction pick this book up. You won’t be disappointed.

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

 

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

spark.png

Pages: 352

Publisher: Random House Publishing – Ballantine

Published: October 2, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I will start my review saying I will NOT discuss the political sides of abortion or whether I think it is right or wrong.

George Goddard, an upset father, takes it upon himself to teach the women and doctor at the state’s only abortion clinic a lesson, by taking them hostage. He blames everyone there, patients and staff, for what has happened to his daughter.

After the first shot was fired, Hugh McElroy, a hostage negotiator, was one of the first one scene. What he doesn’t realize is that his fifteen year old daughter is inside with her aunt, his sister. Hugh has depend on his training and the others inside to keep his daughter safe.

Through the eyes of a nurse who is a patient, the doctor who performs the abortions, a retired professor facing a death she cannot control, the distraught father, an anti abortion protestor, a young woman who felt abortion was her only way out and a scared teenager we learn of the many different reasons humans make the decisions they do.

You can guarantee that when you pick up a Jodi Picoult book you will be made to dig deep inside yourself and think. You may not agree with the issue being discussed but you will be forced to see the issue from every side.

I was not sure if I would like the narrative structure The Spark of Life was written in but by the end I was glad it was written backward, meaning we start with the most recent hour of the hostage standoff and work our way back to how it all began. It forced me to question why and take more of the facts given into consideration.

A great book for book clubs as many discussions can arise while reading. Expect tears and heartache as you read.

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

The First Love by Beverly Lewis

first love

Pages: 304

Publisher: Bethany House

Published: September 4, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

1951: It’s a summer of change and acceptance. Maggie is learning to deal with her chronic illness and help her younger siblings accept their new stepmom. A Mennonite tent revival has set up in town and Maggie attends at the urging of her Mennonite cousins. Will the meetings bring her closer to accepting her illness and accepting her stepmom or will the meetings take her away from her Amish faith?

I knew very little about Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis until reading Maggie’s story. JRA sounds absolutely terrible not to know day to day when you wake up on how you are going to feel and if you are going to be able to move or not.

I applaud Lewis for her positive stepmom portrayal. So many times we read stories of a terrible stepmom who hates her step kids. Being a stepmom myself it made my heart sing to see the stepmom as loving and trying to keep their mom’s memory alive. Yes, there are hard times but with love and patience hard times can be overcome.

My favorite story line was Maggie’s spiritual awakening. The thirst for understanding and believing was beautiful. There were a lot of biblical stories mentioned that I was not completely familiar with and has made me interested to read more of my Bible.

Lewis has written another story that reminds you of the beauty in the world.

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