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.

Hearts in Harmony (An Amish Journey #1) by Beth Wiseman

hearts

Pages: 320

Publisher: Zondervan Fiction

Published: March 12, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:
Musical prodigy Levi Shetler hasn’t touched a piano since he secretly played one years ago. His strict Amish community forbids instruments or the singing of any music not in their approved songbook. Levi asks God often why music tempts him when playing an instrument isn’t allowed in his world.

One person knows Levi’s talents: Mary Hershberger, the girl who promised years ago to keep his secret. Mary comes from a more liberal district than Levi, but she’s facing family troubles of her own. The mutual care for an aging Englischer, Adeline, reunites Mary and Levi as young adults. They realize that, despite their differences, they have a shared love of music—and a shared confusion about whether their talents are God-given gifts or temptations luring them into the Englisch world.

The couple realizes they must compromise or part ways, but a tragic accident shakes their decision. Both Mary and Levi will need to reconcile what they love with what their hearts say is right—because even as their passion for music brings them together, it could be what tears them apart.

My review:
Box of Tissues warning. You will need them almost from the beginning. This book is beautiful; the love flowing throughout (not just romantic love) makes you believe in the good in the world amidst so much hate we hear constantly on the news. I did not want to put this book down. I found myself reading every little chance I got. Adeline, Mary, Levi, and Natalie felt like friends I had had for life.

Hearts in Harmony is about so much more than the love of forbidden music. It is about doing what is right and loving others for who they are not what they can give or provide you. Mary, Levi, and Natalie show us that being selfless and helping those who need it is what life is about. You can have all the money and possessions on the world but without love you have nothing.

I have already noted in my calendar when the second book releases (September 2019) and am anxiously awaiting to read it.

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

Charity’s Burden (A Quaker Midwife Mystery #4) by Edith Maxwell

charitys

Pages: 288

Publisher: Midnight Ink

Published: April 8, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:
Quaker midwife Rose Carroll seeks the true cause of a young mother’s death
The winter of 1889 is harsh in Amesbury, Massachusetts, but it doesn’t stop Quaker midwife Rose Carroll from making the rounds to her pregnant and postpartum mothers. When Charity Skells dies from an apparent early miscarriage, Rose wonders about the symptoms that don’t match the diagnosis. She learns that Charity’s husband may be up to no good with a young woman whose mother appears to offer illegal abortions. A disgraced physician in town does the same, and Charity’s cousin seems to have a nefarious agenda. With several suspects emerging, each with their own possible motives, Rose and police detective Kevin Donovan race against time to solve the case before another innocent life is taken.

My review:
Charity’s Burden is not your typical cozy mystery or Christian Quaker read. It has a definite bite. Where should I start? I’ll start with this is not be viewed as a Christian fiction or cozy mystery. Yes, it centers around the Quakers in Massachusettes in 1889 but there are no mentions of bible verses or faith-based sermons you usually find in a Christian book. There is one romance scene that while it does not go into detail you understand there are inappropriate relations between two unmarried characters, one of them being the Quaker midwife.

This book discusses in detail the pros and cons of different abortion and safe sex practices in 1889. I found it very educational for the curious researcher in me. If you are fiercely against abortion I would say this is not the book for you. As I was reading I did not feel as if this was a political platform, it just shared how such things were thought of during the time. The Comstock laws were mentioned several times during the book and I would suggest you take a moment to look those up if you are unfamiliar with them.

I am definitely interested in reading the first three books in the series and have in fact already requested the first book from my local library.

Please do not use this review for ANY POLITICAL platform as this is not the place for them!

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

PS: Edith Maxwell is also Maddie Day of the Country Store series.

Drawn and Buttered (A Lobster Shack Mystery #3) by Shari Randall

drawn

Pages: 301

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: February 26, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:
The Lazy Mermaid’s business has slowed to a snail’s pace—until a monster lobster claws his way onto the scene…

With the high season behind them, ballerina on-the-mend Allie Larkin and Aunt Gully are finally lying low. But then an unexpected guest arrives at the lobster shack: a crustacean so huge he’s dubbed Lobzilla around Mystic Bay and on social media. Soon, with everyone showing up for a peek in their tank, Allie and Aunt Gully have more on their plate than they can handle.

Meanwhile, another local establishment finds itself in hot water. In exclusive Rabb’s Point, a strange burglary breaches the elegant home of Royal Parrish. Allie takes it upon herself to help with the investigation but, before she can get to the bottom of the case, another alarm sounds: the Lazy Mermaid’s Lobzilla has gone missing and is on the loose! And bodies are beginning to pile up. . .

My Review:
A delightful read that is full of quirkiness and laughter that you will not want to put down. Aunt Gully is the aunt we all wished we had in our lives. She is supportive, loving and ready to jump into the fray with you.

Drawn and Buttered is the third book in the Lobster Shack Mystery series but you can jump into the series at any time. Beware, once you take the plunge you will never want to leave. The series is your typical cozy mystery series with clean language, no gory detailed violence, and no offense sex scenes.

The vivid descriptions of Aunt Gully’s lobster rolls and chowder will have your mouth watering and your mind convincing you that you need to drive to the Connecticut coast immediately. Pretty soon I think my phone is going to automatically book me a plane ticket.

One of my favorite characters is Bronwyn and I keep hoping she makes more of an appearance that an occasional one. She is a great balance to Allie and Verity.

I hope you take a chance and visit my friends in Mystic Bay, Connecticut. I really think you would enjoy.

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.

Previously reviewed on my website:

  1. Curses, Boiled Again (Book 1) January 2018
  2. Against the Claw (Book 2) July 2018

My Special Brother Bo by Britt Collins

bo

Pages: 20

Publisher: Future Horizons

Published: February 14, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: Written by a pediatric occupational therapist who has worked for over thirteen years with children with special needs. Through this sweet story of love an acceptance, siblings of children with special needs will hear that they are loved and hold a unique place within their family. Through Lucy’s voice, children will gain a better understanding of how important and loved they are.

Before reading, I read some not so positive reviews and was worried I was not going to like this book. A lot of readers thought it was derogatory to Bo and Lucy was not a very caring big sister. They also mentioned that they felt it was not good at explaining autism to readers.

After reading, I enjoyed it. I looked at it as a great book for siblings of special needs brothers or sisters. A perfect book for a parent or educator to read and let them see it is ok to have the feelings of disappointment of not being able to do everything others do. You can let them know it is ok to be embarrassed at times but they are still your sibling and love and understanding is the best medicine of all.

As a special education substitute teacher, I will use this in my classrooms.

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

Murders and Metaphors (Magical Bookshop #3) by Amanda Flower

metaphor

Pages: 320

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: February 12, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

January means ice wine season in the Niagara Falls region, but the festivities leave Charming Books owner Violet Waverly cold, still reeling from a past heartbreak. A past heartbreak who will be present at the annual midnight grape-harvest festival, and no magic in the world or incantation powerful enough could get Violet to attend. But Grandma Daisy, an omniscient force all on her own, informs Violet that she’s already arranged for the mystical Charming Books to host celebrity sommelier Belinda Perkins’s book signing at the party. Little do either Waverly women know, the ice wine festival will turn colder still when Violet finds Belinda in the middle of the frozen vineyard—with a grape harvest knife protruding from her chest.

NetGalley: Belinda grew up in Cascade Springs, but she left town years ago after a huge falling-out with her three sisters. One of those sisters, Violet’s high school friend Lacey Dupont, attends the book signing in the hope of making amends with her sister, but Belinda and Lacey end up disrupting the signing with a very public shouting match and Lacey quickly becomes the prime suspect in the sommelier’s murder.

Violet is sure Lacey is innocent, and to keep her friend out of prison, Violet asks for guidance from her magical bookshop. The shop’s ethereal essence points her to Louisa May Alcott’sLittle Women, but what have the four March sisters to do with the four Perkins sisters? If she can’t figure it out, Violet, herself, may turn as cold as ice. Violet, Grandma Daisy, Emerson the tuxedo cat, and resident crow Faulkner are back on the case inMurders and Metaphors, USA Today bestselling author Amanda Flower’s enchanting third Magical Bookshop mystery.

Book 3 in the Magical Bookshop series is a smash hit! Full of well developed and diverse characters with plenty of charm and wit. Just enough magic sprinkled throughout to make one believe in magic again. The right amount of romance with no love triangle, YAY!

Little Women is the book chosen to help Violet solve the murder and I am impressed how it was woven into the story. It has fueled my excitement to re-read Little Women. In fact, I have already requested a copy from the library.

Until this book, I have never heard of ice wine or the ice wine festival so my interest is piqued and I am looking forward to researching this interesting festival. Do I see a future vacation?

Fans of books about books and bookshops will love this cozy mystery series.

Books in Order:
1. Crime and Poetry
2. Prose and Cons
3. Murder and Metaphors

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

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.

With Winter’s First Frost (Every Amish Season #4) by Kelly Irvin

winter

Pages: 352

Publisher: Zondervan Fiction

Published: February 5, 2019

Rating 5 out of 5 stars

Widow Laura finds herself feeling a little useless as of late especially since she has given up working as a midwife and filling in at the local bookstore. When a close friend of hers needs her after the difficult birth of her newborn twins, Laura finds herself enjoying life again taking care of babies, cooking for the family and taking care of the house. There is one exception to this, widower Zechariah, the great-grandfather of the babies. He suffers from Parkinson’s disease and finds himself very grouchy especially when his grandkids and kids don’t think he can do anything for himself.

As the winter progresses he finds himself falling for Laura and Laura feels the same. Can they both let go of the past and let love fill the rest of their days?

What an emotionally charged story that will make you look at love in the elderly in a new way. Laura and Zechariah have imprinted my heart and will not be leaving for a very long time. I want to be them when I grow old, I want to be able to love that unconditionally with everyone in my life. So beautiful and moving. This story will change your life.

What you don’t believe me? Find out yourself by buying a copy on release day of February 5, 2019, from your favorite bookseller.
Every Amish Season Books in Order:
1. Upon A Spring Breeze 4 stars
2. Beneath the Summer Sun 4 stars
3. Through the Autumn Air 5 stars
4. With Winter’s First Frost 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zondervan Fiction 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.

The Rancher’s Twins (Return of the Blackwell Brothers #1) by Carol Ross

twins

Pages: 384

Publisher: Harlequin Heartwarming

Published: August 1, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Lydia Newbury is on the run and finds herself as a nanny to Jon Blackwell’s five-year-old twins. To say they are spunky is mild. They are little imps of joy and curiosity. Will Lydia be able to convince the grouch faced rancher she is the woman for the job?

I have not read a Harlequin for many, many years and I am impressed with the Harlequin Heartwarming books. The Rancher’s Twins was full of clean romance with a detailed storyline. The plot of helping one another was the main focus and not how fast they could get in the bed.

The twins are utterly adorable and I hope they make cameo appearances in the rest of the series. You will find yourself falling in love with these little girls.

Fans of western romances written by Diana Palmer and Linda Lael Miller will enjoy this clean romantic story set on a ranch in beautiful Montana.

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