The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth

mother law

Pages: 347

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: April 23, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, she knew she wasn’t the wife Diana had envisioned for her perfect son. Exquisitely polite, friendly, and always generous, Diana nonetheless kept Lucy at arm’s length despite her desperate attempts to win her over. And as a pillar in the community, an advocate for female refugees, and a woman happily married for decades, no one had a bad word to say about Diana…except Lucy.

That was five years ago.

Now, Diana is dead, a suicide note found near her body claiming that she longer wanted to live because of the cancer wreaking havoc inside her body.
But the autopsy finds no cancer.
It does find traces of poison, and evidence of suffocation.

Who could possibly want Diana dead? Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her children, and their spouses? And what does it mean that Lucy isn’t exactly sad she’s gone?

My Review: This is my second Sally Hepworth book and both have been amazing reads. It was a close 5-star read.

A perfect book to show how money can ruin lives.

Would I recommend this book for a teenage reader? No, as it has many adult situations (not sexual) that might be too much. This would make a perfect book club book. I wish I was in one just to have some animated discussions in the plot.

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

An Amish Reunion by Amy Clipston; Beth Wiseman; Kathleen Fuller andKelly Irvin

reunion

Pages: 399

Publisher: Zondervan

Published: April 9, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Net Galley:

Their True Home by Amy Clipston

When Marlene Bawell moved from Bird-in-Hand ten years ago, she was in the deepest of mourning for her mother. Now her family has moved back so her father can seek employment after being laid off. To help save money, Marlene works at the hardware store owned by Rudy Swarey’s father. She knew Rudy growing up and had a secret crush on him, though he never seemed to notice her. But just as a friendship between them begins to blossom, her life is once again turned upside down. Will Marlene ever have a chance to find her own true home?
A Reunion of Hearts by Beth Wiseman

Ruth and Gideon Beiler experienced one of life’s most tragic events. Unable to get past their grief, the couple abandoned their Amish faith and went in different directions, though neither could bear to formally dissolve the marriage. When their loved ones reach out to them to come home for a family reunion, Ruth has reason to believe that Gideon won’t be there. Gideon also thinks that Ruth has declined the invitation. Family and friends are rooting for them to reunite, but will it all be enough for Ruth and Gideon to get past their grief and recapture a time when they were in love and had a bright future ahead of them?

A Chance to Remember by Kathleen Fuller

Cevilla Schlabach, Birch Creek’s resident octogenarian matchmaker, is surprised when Richard, a man from her Englisch past, arrives in Birch Creek for a visit. While he and Cevilla take several walks down memory lane, they wonder what the future holds for them at this stage of life—friendship, or the possibility of something else?

Mended Hearts by Kelly Irvin

At eighteen Hannah Kauffman made a terrible mistake. Her parents and members of her Jamesport Amish community say they’ve forgiven her. But she feels their eyes following her everywhere she goes with eighteen-month-old Evie. Thaddeus, Evie’s father, escaped this fate by running away from Jamesport. Now that Thaddeus is gone, Hannah’s old friend Phillip is stepping up to be by her side. He has waited patiently for Hannah to realize just how much he cares for her. But when Thaddeus returns after two years, Hannah can’t deny the love she feels for him. Does the fact that Phillip has waited patiently for her all this time mean that she owes him something? Can she trust either one of them? Can she trust herself? She has repented and been forgiven by the One who is most important—her heavenly Father. But is she willing to risk making more mistakes by opening herself up to love?

My Review:

A wonderful collection of Amish novellas that show you even in the darkest times there is a silver lining but it just may not be the one you were anticipating.

If you have never read Amish fiction/romance and want to give it a try this a great collection to start with. Each novella is short enough to read in a couple of hours. You do not have to worry about letting your teenage daughter read as all are clean romance and language-wise.

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

Two Weeks (The Baxter Family #5) by Karen Kingsbury

two

Pages: 384

Publisher: Howard Books

Published: April 9, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:
Cole Blake, son of Landon and Ashley Baxter Blake, is months away from going off to college and taking the first steps towards his dream—a career in medicine. But as he starts his final semester of high school he meets Elise, a mysterious new girl who captures his attention—and heart—from day one.

Elise has her heart set on mending her wild ways and rediscovering the good girl she used to be. But not long after the semester starts, she discovers she’s pregnant. Eighteen and alone, she shares her secret with Cole. Undaunted by the news, and in love for the first time in his life, Cole is determined to support Elise—even if it means skipping college, marrying her, and raising another man’s baby.

When Elise decides to place her baby up for adoption, she is matched with Aaron and Lucy Williams, who moved to Bloomington, Indiana to escape seven painful years of infertility.

But as Elise’s due date draws near, she becomes focused on one truth: she has two weeks to change her mind about the adoption. With Cole keeping vigil and Lucy and Aaron waiting to welcome their new baby, Elise makes an unexpected decision—one that changes everyone’s plans.

Tender and deeply moving, Two Weeks is a story about love, faith, and what it really means to be a family.

My Review:
This book hit me right in the feels. Even 24 hours after finishing I’m still feeling the effects.

How easy this could be about any teenage girl right now? Previously in a bad relationship with a terrible guy who gets away with the unthinkable. Does she have an abortion, give the baby up for adoption or keep the baby and forgo all her dreams? I couldn’t imagine making that decision. My heart aches for Elise.

I could relate to Lucy in some ways as never being able to have a child of my own. Luckily I was able to be a mom when I married my husband. His son became my son as well. Two Weeks made me look into myself and question if I could have been strong enough to go through so many failed adoption attempts. It might have shaken my belief in God like it did Lucy’s.

There is a third storyline in Two Weeks not mentioned on the book jacket that will have you reaching for the tissues and once again questioning why.

Take your time reading Two Weeks and soak up the amazing work of God in our daily lives.

This is book 5 in The Baxter Family and if you’ve read all the Baxter books or this is your first you can jump right in with no hesitation.

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

The Patient One (Walnut Creek #1) by Shelley Shepard Gray

 

patient

Pages: 304

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: April 9, 2019

Rating: 5 stars

What made life memorable wasn’t when everything went so right that it was easy . . . it was when everything felt so wrong that the only thing to do was accept it for what it was—a memory in the making.” – The Patient One by Shelley Shepard Gray

NetGalley:
When word had gotten out that Andy Warner had committed suicide, everyone in Walnut Creek, Ohio, had been shocked. For seven men and women in their twenties, some Amish, some Mennonite, and some English, each of whom had once counted his or herself as one of Andy’s best friends, it had been extremely painful.

And, maybe, a source of guilt.

Years have passed since they’d all been together last. Some of them got into trouble. A couple got into arguments. Eventually, they all drifted apart. But even though none of them really saw each other anymore, there was a steadfast certainty that they’d always have each other’s backs—even when no one else did. Their bond was that strong…until Andy did the unthinkable.

Now the seven remaining friends, still reeling from Andy’s death, have vowed to look after each other again. As far as they’re concerned, it doesn’t matter that they’re now in their twenties and have drifted far apart. They need to connect again…for Andy.

My review:
I’m still reeling from the Andy we meet in Friends to the End is no longer with us. I never got the feeling in the prequel that he was struggling. Which I understand is how a lot of people suffering from depression are. A lot of times you don’t know until it is too late. I appreciated Gray taking the time to reflect how suicide and senseless death affects not only those close to the deceased but others around the deceased.

Tissues are a must when reading. This would be a great book to use as a way to talk to your teenager about depression and suicide and that there is help available. It is also a good lesson on drunk driving and how a night of fun can destroy lives in seconds.

The Patient One is a clean romance with no foul language.

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

Death Threads (A Southern Sewing Circle #2) by Elizabeth Lynn Casey (aka Laura Bradford)

death

Pages: 288

Publisher: Berkley

Published: May 5, 2010

Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads:
Yankee librarian Tori Sinclair is basking in the warmth of her new circle of friends from South Carolina’s Sweet Briar Ladies Society sewing circle. That is until local author Colby Calhoun reveals an unflattering secret about the town’s historic past-and then disappears, leaving a bloody trail behind him. And when Tori begins to see a pattern of the townsfolk’s age-old Southern pride standing in the way of justice, she knows it’s time to unravel the mystery.

My review:
This series is for fans of anything Southern and book related. You cannot get more perfect than a library set in South Carolina. If you add in the love for Little House (Laura Ingalls Wilder) that Tori has then we have the winning trifecta in my humble opinion.

I am not a person who views sewing as relaxing. I am more in the ranks of our dear sweet Leona who along with her twin sister is a hoot. You will find yourself chuckling quite frequently while reading. The idea of the handsewn library book bags for nursing home residents has really touched my heart. My mom is currently in a long term rehabilitation to get her leg strength back and seeing the nursing home part of the rehab center is so sad. I wish more public libraries had the capability to make sure nursing home residents had access to books.

A part of me wants to gobble this series up as quickly as I can read but the smart part of me is telling myself to slow down since there are only 12 books in this wonderful series and I have already read two. I am limiting myself to one book a month in this series.

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.

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.

The Forgiving Jar (The Prayer Jars #2) by Wanda Brunstetter

jar

Pages: 320

Publisher: Barbour Publishing/Shiloh Run Press

Published: February 1, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

In book two of The Prayer Jar series, we focus on Sara. Sara is the real granddaughter of Willis and Mary Ruth and the young lady Michelle had been impersonating. Sara is struggling with her faith and with forgiving those she feels has betrayed her throughout her life, including her deceased mom. As she continues to live with her grandparents she finds jealousy rearing its ugly head. Especially when Michelle seems to be getting her life together and the community is forgiving for her sins. Christmas arrives with a friend of her grandparents and Michelle and Sara finds herself liking him as more than a friend. Can Sara find forgiveness in her heart and learn to let jealousy go? Will the prayer jar she finds in her grandparents basement become her saving grace?

I am still reeling from this book. I have not had an Amish book hit me in the feels as this one did in a bit. I still get teary-eyed thinking about it. In book one I was very angry with Michelle impersonating Sara and felt like Sara had a right to be upset and very angry but as book two opened I came to understand Michelle more and realized sometimes when you are at rock bottom you find yourself doing things you never would dream of doing. As for Sara, I could not imagine a parent dying and finding out I had a family I never knew about. I admire Sara for her bravery in contacting and going to live with her grandparents I do not admire her jealousy against Michelle or her feelings against her stepfather. She definitely had a lot of growing up to do in book two. By the end, you will love both Michelle and Sara as if they were a part of your family.

As always with a Wanda Brunstetter book, you will find yourself laughing one moment and in tears the next. I suggest you read book one, The Hope Jar, first. I am eagerly anticipating the third book in the series.

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