Peace in the Valley (Amish of Big Sky #3) by Kelly Irvin

peace

Pages: 352

Publisher: HarperCollins (Zondervan)

Published: August 4, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A thought-provoking read. I felt it really drove home 1 Corinthians 15:33 ESV Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” I am not saying Nora’s extended family was bad company but rather they were able to convince her to do things she would not normally do. We are all like that in some manner.

It was enjoyable to read about the Amish in a different setting other than Pennsylvania, Ohio, or Indiana.

Peace in the Valley is book three and the last of the Amish of Big Sky series and can be read as a standalone with no issues. I have not read the first two in the series but plan on doing so.

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: After a devastating wildfire sweeps through her town, one young Amish woman is shown a different way to practice her faith . . . but pursuing it could cost her everything she holds dear, including the man she loves.

Nora Beachy loves her life. She works in the community store in West Kootenai, takes care of her family and courts with Levi Raber. She and Levi plan to marry, but Levi wants to wait until he has the money to buy them a house before he pops the question. Nora doesn’t want to wait. Is there something keeping Levi from marrying her?

Nora’s peaceful existence is swept away when wildfires threaten her family’s home. She’s forced to evacuate to Libby where she stays with family in an Amish community that embraces a charismatic style of worship rejected by her own parents and the Kootenai district elders. Nora’s drawn to the emotional, powerful style of worship, the musical instruments, and the more relaxed lifestyle. She knows she’s headed for a shunning if she doesn’t stop breaking the rules, but she can’t understand why both forms of worship aren’t lovely in God’s eyes.

Nora’s stuck in the middle. She loves her family and doesn’t want to lose them. She loves Levi. But she must make a decision: return to her traditional Amish life or embrace this new way of worshipping and living. Will she sacrifice her relationship with Levi and her family for a different kind of faith?

What You Wish For by Katherine Center

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Pages: 306

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: July 14, 2020

Rating 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

My Review: Do you need a book that inspires you to keep moving forward when the chips are down? Do you need a book to encourage you to let love in? Do you need a book to tell you it is ok to be you?

If so, then What You Wish For is the book for you! I didn’t want to put this book down. It is a fast read but has a lot of depth.

Every Katherine Center book I have read has left me with something I can use in my own life. This book was no exception. I have a feeling I will be drawing from its wisdom for many years. It is a book that will stay with you.

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

NetGalley: From the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel full of heart and hope.

Samantha Casey is a school librarian who loves her job, the kids, and her school family with passion and joy for living.
But she wasn’t always that way.
Duncan Carpenter is the new school principal who lives by rules and regulations, guided by the knowledge that bad things can happen.
But he wasn’t always that way.

And Sam knows it. Because she knew him before—at another school, in a different life. Back then, she loved him—but she was invisible. To him. To everyone. Even to herself. She escaped to a new school, a new job, a new chance at living. But when Duncan, of all people, gets hired as the new principal there, it feels like the best thing that could possibly happen to the school—and the worst thing that could possibly happen to Sam. Until the opposite turns out to be true. The lovable Duncan she’d known is now a suit-and-tie wearing, rule-enforcing tough guy so hell-bent on protecting the school that he’s willing to destroy it.

As the school community spirals into chaos, and danger from all corners looms large, Sam and Duncan must find their way to who they really are, what it means to be brave, and how to take a chance on love—which is the riskiest move of all.

With Katherine Center’s sparkling dialogue, unforgettable characters, heart, hope, and humanity, What You Wish For is the author at her most compelling best.

The Mockingbird’s Song (Amish Greenhouse Mystery #2) by Wanda E. Brunstetter

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Pages: 320

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: August 1, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I am enjoying the underlying mystery that has run through books one and two. I have an idea of the culprit but will have to wait until March of 2021 to find out if I am correct.

Virginia, the Englisch neighbor across the street, is still her unhappy self. Her character gives the story a realism we don’t always see but man is she a Debbie downer. Nothing satisfies the woman.

This series should be read in order because of the mystery that runs throughout.

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

NetGalley: Where Is the Hope in Grief for a Young Amish Widow?

Sylvia has been nearly paralyzed with grief and anxiety since the tragic death of her husband, father, and brother in a traffic accident. She tries to help in the family’s greenhouse while caring for her two young children, but she prefers not to have to deal with customers. Her mother’s own grief causes her to hover over her children and grandchildren, and Sylvia seeks a diversion. She takes up birdwatching and soon meets an Amish man who teaches her about local birds. But Sylvia’s mother doesn’t trust Dennis Weaver, and as the relationship sours, mysterious attacks on the greenhouse start up again.

A Week at the Shore by Barbara Delinsky

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Pages: 416

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: May 19, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A Week at the Shore is a story of family complexities and love in its many forms. Follow the winding shore to an ending that leaves you shocked and content at the same time.

Barbara Delinsky gives you a great novel to sink your teeth into. A perfect read for a long, relaxing weekend.

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

NetGalley: In A Week at the ShoreNew York Times bestselling author Barbara Delinsky explores how lives and relationships are forever changed when three sisters reunite at their family Rhode Island beach house.

One phone call is all it takes to lure real estate photographer Mallory Aldiss back to her family Rhode Island beach home. It’s been twenty years since she’s been gone—running from the scandal that destroyed her parents’ marriage, drove her and her two sisters apart, and crushed her relationship with her first love. But going home is fraught with emotional baggage—memories, mysteries, and secrets abound.

Mal’s thirteen-year-old daughter, Joy, has never been to the place where Mal’s life was shaped and is desperate to go. Fatherless, she craves family and especially wants to spend time with the grandfather she barely knows.

In just seven watershed days on the Rhode Island coast, three women will test the bonds of sisterhood, friendship, and family, and discover the role that love and memory plays in defining their lives.

A Walk Along the Beach by Debbie Macomber

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Pages: 352

Publisher: Ballantine

Published: July 14, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Sigh…this book had me at the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Ugly crying at 3 am while my hubby slept soundly next to me.

Debbie Macomber has always delivered a touching romance that hugs at the heartstrings. A Walk on the Beach was no exception. A clean romance that can be shared with the teenage girl in your life.

No recipes at the end but you will be left with a craving for homemade cinnamon rolls and a cuppa hot coffee. Too bad I didn’t buy those cinnamon rolls I saw yesterday.

Curl up in your favorite reading spot and dive into one of the best romances of the summer.

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

Review: NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Two sisters must learn from each other’s strengths and trust in the redeeming power of love in a touching new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.

The Lakey sisters are perfect opposites. After their mother died and their father was lost in grief, Willa had no choice but to raise her sister, Harper, and their brother, Lucas. Then, as an adult, she put her own life on hold to nurse Harper through a terrifying illness. Now that Harper is better and the sisters are living as roommates, Willa has realized her dream of running her own bakery and coffee shop, bringing her special brand of caretaking to the whole Oceanside community.

Harper, on the other hand, is always on the go. Overcoming a terrible illness has given her a new lease on life, and she does not intend to waste it. When Harper announces her plan to summit Mount Rainier, Willa fears she may be pushing herself too far. Harper, for her part, urges Willa to stop worrying and do something outside of her comfort zone—like taking a chance on love with a handsome new customer.

Sean O’Malley is as charming as he is intriguing—a freelance photographer whose assignments take him to the ends of the earth. Soon Willa’s falling for him in a way that is both exciting and terrifying. But life has taught Willa to hedge her bets, and she wonders whether the potential heartache is worth the risk.

Life has more challenges in store for them all. But both sisters will discover that even in the darkest moments, family is everything.

Beaches, Bungalows, and Burglaries (A Camper & Criminal Cozy Mystery #1) by Tonya Kappes

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Pages: 286

Published: May 25, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I can’t believe it took a round of book bingo to get me started on this series. It’s perfect for me as it takes place in a campground, set in Kentucky, and is a cozy mystery.

I laughed so much while reading. Mae West is a breeze of fresh air. She may be a little clueless but she definitely provides entertainment.

I was shocked by the murderer. I had it wrong all along. I’m trying to figure out what clues I missed.

Book two is definitely in my near future.

Goodreads: Welcome to Normal, Kentucky~ where nothing is normal.

Mae West, a far cry from the Hollywood actress, has been thrown for a loop. Her plush lifestyle in the big city of New York comes to a screeching halt after the FBI raids her mansion and arrests her husband, Paul West, for a Ponzi scheme that rips people out of millions of dollars.

Mae finds herself homeless, friendless, and penniless. All hope isn’t lost…the only thing Mae got to keep that the government didn’t seize is a tourist campground, Happy Trails, in Normal, Kentucky, and an RV to live in. One problem, Mae’s idea of camping has room service.

By the look of the brochure, Happy Trails has plush Kentucky Bluegrass, a crystal clear lake, a beach chair with her name on it, and thoughts of how much money it could bring her after she sells it. Mae figures she’ll take a couple weeks vacation with her toes dipped in the lake. Things aren’t always as they appear. The Kentucky Bluegrass is nothing but dirt and the crystal clue lake is murky with green slime on top.

Mae quickly finds out that Happy Trails and the citizens of Normal were also victims of Paul’s schemes, making her lower than the lake scum in the residents’ eyes. Mae doesn’t think things could get much worse, but as luck would have it, Paul West has escaped from prison and is found dead, murdered, floating in the Happy Trails mucky green lake.

Mae is the number one suspect on Detective Hank Sharp’s shortlist. After all, Mae has the perfect motive as a kept wife who has been scorned to ashes, embarrassed to death and seeking revenge.

Time is running out for Mae to prove that she’s innocent and nothing like her husband. If only she could get someone to believe her and talk Detective Sharp into looking at other residents who’ve lost all their savings to Paul’s Ponzi scheme before the curtain is closed on this Hollywood namesake.

Nacho Average Murder (Country Store #7) by Maddie Day

nacho

Pages: 258

Publisher: Kensington

Published: June 30, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I find it fun to read at least one book in a series where the main character takes a vacation. It makes them more real to me.

In book 7 of the Country Store series, we go to California with Robbie for her high school reunion. It was the perfect vacation to take with Robbie during the Covid-19 restrictions. We get to visit sunny Santa Barbara and “taste” some very yummy food and my favorite were the dishes with avocado as I am always looking for new ways to eat avocados. Of course, it would not be a cozy mystery without an unfortunate murder. This one had me guessing to the big reveal. I liked the addition of her high school best friend as her investigating sidekick but I will be happy to have the regulars back in book 8.

I listened to a few chapters of the audiobook from my library app, Hoopla, and I was not fond of the narrator. She is not bad but her voice did not match how I think Robbie sounds.

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

NetGalley: Robbie Jordan is temporarily leaving Pans ’N Pancakes, her country store in South Lick, Indiana, to visit Santa Barbara, California—where wildfire smoke tinges the air, but a more immediate danger may lie in wait . . .

While looking forward to her high school reunion back in California, Robbie’s anticipation is complicated by memories of her mother’s untimely death. At first, she has fun hanging out with her old classmates and reuniting with the local flavors—avocados, citrus, fish, and spicy Cali-Mex dishes. But then she gets wind of rumors that her mother, an environmental activist, may not have died of natural causes. With the help of friends, Robbie starts clearing the smoke surrounding the mystery—but what she finds could make it hard to get back to Indiana alive . . .

Includes Recipes for You to Try!

South of the Buttonwood Tree by Heather Webber

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Pages: 330

Publisher: Forge Books

Published: July 21, 2020

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

My Review: Have you ever read a book that left you feeling peaceful and happy but at the same time angry for the injustice a character received? South of the Buttonwood Tree has left me with those feelings.

There is so much I want to say but I don’t want to ruin a moment of this book by giving too much away. Webber had my attention captivated from the beginning. I made myself slow down in reading so i wouldn’t miss a thing by reading too fast.

The moral of the story is perfect right now. Don’t judge others as you probably don’t know the whole story. Plus a little love and compassion can go a long way in helping someone.

The book is full of magical realism which if you follow my book blog I’m not normally a fan of but when it is done right I love it. This is the second magical realism book this month for me and both have been very good.

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

NetGalley: USA Today bestselling author Heather Webber’s South of the Buttonwood Tree is a captivating blend of magical realism, heartwarming romance, and small-town Southern charm.

Blue Bishop has a knack for finding lost things. While growing up in charming small-town Buttonwood, Alabama, she’s happened across lost wallets, jewelry, pets, her wandering neighbor, and sometimes, trouble. No one is more surprised than Blue, however, when she comes across an abandoned newborn baby in the woods, just south of a very special buttonwood tree.

Sarah Grace Landreneau Fulton is at a crossroads. She has always tried so hard to do the right thing, but her own mother would disown her if she ever learned half of Sarah Grace’s secrets.

The unexpected discovery of the newborn baby girl will alter Blue’s and Sarah Grace’s lives forever. Both women must fight for what they truly want in life and for who they love. In doing so, they uncover long-held secrets that reveal exactly who they really are—and what they’re willing to sacrifice in the name of family.

Murder in Waiting (Tourist Trap #11) by Lynn Cahoon

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Pages: 175

Publisher: Kensington

Published: June 30, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Murder in Waiting was a good addition to the Tourist Trap Mystery series.

Even though the book is centered around an upcoming trip to celebrate Amy’s upcoming wedding we do not see a lot of her in this story. Even Jill’s aunt is not as prevalent in the story. I’m used to them taking up as much story time as Jill so I kind of missed them.

I either missed a lot of clues or the red herrings were expertly placed as the killer was not who I thought. I like a mystery that keeps me guessing.

I listened to some of the Audiobook and the narrator is one of my favorites and does all the characters justice. She keeps you interested from the beginning.

I’m glad I picked up this series on a whim a couple of years ago as it has been a good one. Filled with plenty of full-length stories and novellas.

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

NetGalley: In the latest Tourist Trap mystery from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Lynn Cahoon, bookshop café owner Jill Gardner contends with a best friend-turned-bridezilla while trying to solve a local historian’s untimely date with death . . .

At Coffee, Books, & More, Jill’s the boss. But as Amy’s maid-of-honor, she can barely keep up with marching orders–and now she’s in charge of organizing an epic bachelorette! Adding to Jill’s party-planning panic, the South Cove Heritage Society just unceremoniously dumped her historic landmark bid. While vying proposals rush in from a loaded land developer and a pushy travel guide company, Jill finds an unexpected ally in Heritage Society expert, Frank Gleason. But their happy union is cut short when Frank is mowed down in a suspicious hit-and-run. With Amy’s big day on the horizon, Jill vows to catch the killer before she has to catch a bouquet.

The Rural Diaries: Love, Livestock, and Big Life Down on Mischief Farm by Hilarie Burton Morgan

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Pages: 257

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published: May 5, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I purely picked this book on Netgalley because I loved watching Hilarie on One Tree Hill. I knew a little about her life on the farm from Instagram but was blown away by how down to earth she really is. I wish I had half the talent in renovating and gardening as she does. I admire her grit and determination to be the best mom, wife, friend she can be.

I applaud her for how she tackled her #metoo story in the book and how she has not let that overshadow her life. Instead, she gathered all her strength and courage and made her life what she wanted.

Anyone who reads this fast-paced memoir will learn something about themselves or how to face a difficult situation.

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

NetGalley: New York Times Bestseller

The beloved actress and star of One Tree Hill, White Collar, and Lethal Weapon, Hilarie Burton Morgan, tells the story of leaving Hollywood for a radically different kind of life in upstate New York with her husband Jeffrey Dean Morgan—a celebration of community, family, and the value of hard work in small-town America.

While Hilarie Burton Morgan’s hectic lifestyle as an actress in New York and Los Angeles gave her a comfortable life, it did not fulfill her spiritually or emotionally. After the birth of their first son, she and her husband Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the star of The Walking Dead, decided to make a major change: they bought a working farm in Rhinebeck, New York, and began a new chapter in their lives.

The Rural Diaries chronicles her inspiring story of farm life: chopping wood, making dandelion wine, building chicken coops. Burton looks back at her transition from urban to country living—discovering how to manage a farm while raising her son and making friends with her new neighbors. She mixes charming stories of learning to raise alpacas and buying and revitalizing the town’s beloved candy store, Samuel’s Sweet Shop, with raw observations on the ups and downs of marriage and her struggles with secondary infertility. Burton also includes delicious recipes that can be made with fresh ingredients at home, as well as home renovation and gardening tips.

Burton’s charisma, wide-eyed attitude, and fortitude—both internal and physical—propels this moving story of transformation and self-discovery. The Rural Diaries honors the values and lifestyle of small-town America and offers inspiration for anyone longing to embark on their own unconventional journey.