Monday, March 19, 2018

Hidden by Vanetta Chapman - Review of the first book in the Jacobs Family series

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DANA JACOBS would rather forget the night of tragedy and violence that marred her childhood. She is now supervisor in charge of the Department of Homeland Security in Taos, New Mexico. Her team is prepared to handle any threat--biological, chemical, conventional, cyber, even nuclear. BENJAMIN MARSHALL is newly assigned to Dana's office. Straight from a six year military deployment, he is not what Dana wants or needs.

Ben knows God has a reason for putting him in this place at this time--to help Dana. When a local school is threatened, they open a case which leads them on a chase through the Enchanted Circle and Carson National Forest, pursuing a man filled with a bitterness Dana can understand. But her anger is different it's justified, it remains hidden inside, and it hurts no one.

Can Dana face her own mortality? And when she does, can she truly understand what it means to forgive and to be forgiven?

This is the first non-Amish book of Vannetta's that I've read and I truly enjoyed it. An edge of the seat mystery that keeps you from wanting to put the book down. Grab a copy and enjoy!!!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Keeping Secrets by Linda Byler - Review of the second book in Sadie's Montana series


There's horse trouble in Montana again. Only this time, horses aren't being stolen, they're being shot. Snipers are driving a blue pickup and seem to be shooting selectively. No Hard-working ranch horse or Amish  horse and buggy is safe.

Still, Sadie rides, despite daily warnings from Dorothy down in the kitchen of Aspen East Ranch. But Sadie's getting used to ignoring Dorothy's advice. Sadie's heart is set on Mark even though Dorothy tells her to steer clear after he ditches her in the middle of their first real date.

Then Daniel appears---a visitor from Lancaster County. He's funny, well-mannered, and completely dedicated to his family.

Mark, on the other hand, finds it hard to tell Sadie the secrets of his past.

Why, Sadie wonders desperately, are there so man secrets? Will the snipers be found? Will the truth about Mark surface, or is it too hard to bear?


This book is a tug at your heart story, it may be very emotional for some. I am enjoying this series, it's been a while since I've read the first book in the series and now I have to see about getting the last one in the series. This was an enjoyable read but I do think you should read the the series in order to get the full impact.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

What the Bishop Saw by Vanetta Chapman - Review of the first book in the Amish Bishop Mystery series

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Somewhere in the Embers Lies the Truth

A fire blazes out of control in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, leaving an elderly Amish bachelor dead. Bishop Henry Lapp rushes to the scene, and he learns the fire was no accident. Someone intended to kill Vernon Frey. But who would want to kill Vernon? Well, practically everyone--Amish and Englisch alike.

When the police point the finger at a suspect Henry knows is innocent, the bishop must decide whether or not to use his mysterious, God-given gift--one he's tried desperately to ignore all these years--to try and set the record straight. His close friend and neighbor, Emma, encourages Henry to follow God's leading.

Could the clue to solving the case be locked somewhere deep in his memory? Will Henry find the courage to move forward in faith and put the right person behind bars? Is his friendship with Emma becoming something more?

What the Bishop Saw is a story of extraordinary talents, the bonds of love and friendship, and the unfailing grace of God.

What a twist for an Amish story, Vanetta never lets up, she just keeps pulling you along so you don't want to put the book down. The Amish and the Englisch have to work together, some of the Amish disagree, will it all work out, what happens when the 'youngee' try to take things into their own hands? I can recommend this book as a great read.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Cat, The Quilt and the Corpse by Leann Sweeney - Review of the first book in the Cats In Trouble Mystery series

Recently widowed Jillian Hart is rebuilding a life for herself and her three beloved cats---Chablis, Syrah, and Merlot---as a quilter in a small South Carolina town. The quilts she makes are for cats as smart, special, and sweet as her own, and business is thriving.

But when she returns from an overnight quilting show, she discovers Chablis sneezing---and since Chablis is allergic to humans, that can mean only one thing: Someone has broken into her house. When she realizes her Abyssinian Syrah is missing, Jillian suspects catnapping.

Spurred by Chablis's and Merlot's mournful meowing, she investigates---and discovers more missing cats and a murder. Now she's got to save more than one cat in trouble---not to mention herself.

Very entertaining and I found it hard to put the book down. I'm not an animal 'lover', I like animals but not a fan of having pets, although I have had both cats and dogs that I've become attached to.
I think this is the first one of Leann's books that I've read and she is now on my list to follow. I will have to get the rest of the books in this series.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Hidden in Plain Site by Karen Ann Hopkins - Review of the fourth book in the Serenity's Plain Secrets series

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Some Amish communities aren't so cozy.

When a cold case heats up, Serenity won't stop until she discovers the truth.

In this installment of the bestselling Serenity's Plain Secrets' series. Serenity must work with US marshals to uncover the truth behind a shockingly brutal fifteen-year-cold murder.

Desperate for answers, Serenity finds herself in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where she unravels secrets that threaten to tear her and Daniel apart. But digging up the past is dangerous and the quaint Amish settlement isn't as safe as it seems.

If Serenity chooses to trust the man she's come to love, it could mean a happily ever after...or her final act.

This story didn't seem quite as good to me as the previous three, but still worth the read. This cold case may affect Serenity's personal life, just after she decided she could be happy spending the rest of it with Daniel. I have been enjoying this series for the most part, not crazy about some of the language and some sexual scenes.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Frontier Matchmaker Bride by Regina Scott - Review of the eighth book in the Frontier Bachelors series

The Lawman Meets His Match
Successful Seattle matchmaker Beth Wallin has her most challenging assignment yet---find Deputy Hart McCormick a bride. Beth's still smarting after the handsome lawman spurned her affections a year ago. But if she finds Hart a wife, Beth will gain favor with the city's most influential women...and perhaps free her own heart, as well.

Marriage is the last thing on the deputy's mind. After tragically losing his sweetheart, he vowed never to love again. But as sweet, spunky Beth introduces him to potential fiancees, Hart finally feels a spark...for her! The stubborn bachelor will be Beth's first matchmaking miss, unless they can both admit that she just might be his perfect match.

I am writing this review with a tear in my eye! This is the last book in the series, as far as I know anyway, since the Harlequin is phasing out five mass market original series and the Love Inspired Historical is one of them!

I have really enjoyed this series and am so sad to see it end. The Wallin family has so much love and faith for each other as well as other people. I can highly recommend this book but you really should read it in order to totally fall in love yourself and not ruin any spoilers by reading out of order.

I was given a copy of this book in return for an honest review. This review are my true feelings and opinions.

Secrets in the Grave by Karen Ann Hopkins - Review of the third book in the Serenity's Plain Secrets series

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Just when Sheriff Serenity Adams thinks life is getting back to normal, the death of a young, pregnant Amish woman rocks the community, is it circumstance...or murder? It's up to Serenity and her ex-Amish boyfriend, Daniel Bachman, to discover the truth about the new shaman-type medicine man who's brought his dark secrets to Blood Rock.

But Serenity has secrets of her own, and if she and Daniel don't work it out, the reappearance of a woman from his past could threaten to ruin their relationship.

The deeper Serenity delves into the magical world of Amish herbal medicine, the phenomenon of laying of the hands and other cultural healing oddities, the more she wonders if miracles are real. What she witnesses with her own eyes may be too fantastical for her to believe.

In this riveting third installment of Serenity's Plain Secrets, beliefs are challenged, a way of life is questioned and family skeletons are unearthed, leaving no one untouched.

A great story here! Karen keeps you guessing, you think you have it figured out, OH but wait, not so fast, KEEP READING. Yes, I have really liked the story, even though there are some spots I don't appreciate, fewer in this book than the previous two I think, but I keep reading the stories because the stories are so good.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Whispers from the Dead by Karen Ann Hopkins - Review of the second book in the Serenity's Plain Secrets series

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Sheriff Serenity Adams and Daniel Bachman are once again partnered up in a criminal investigation, when they travel to a northern Amish settlement that has been riddled by arsons for the past two decades. Serenity quickly discovers that there is a lot more going on than barn burnings in the touristy community of Poplar Springs. This group of Amish has their own secrets to hide.

Serenity begins to unravel an extensive criminal underworld that threatens to destroy everything that the simple people of Poplar Springs hold dear, and once again puts her own life in jeopardy. And even though Serenity tries desperately to avoid it, things begin heating up between her and Daniel, making her wonder if true love and happiness are really within her grasp.

Karen knows how to keep you interested in a story, a lot of twist and turns but very captivating. There are some swear words, the worst towards the end and I ended up skimming a few pages at the end where the sexual scene was. I would love to give this a five rating but because of those couple of things I am dropping it to a three. I so enjoyed the story that I will read the rest of the series.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Hannah's Choice by Jan Drexler- Review of the first book in the Journey to Pleasant Prairie series

When love and family conflict,
will she listen to her head. . .or her heart?

Hannah Yoder loves her quiet life on the banks of Conestoga Creek. In 1842, this corner of Lancaster County is settled and peaceful---yet problems lurk beneath the placid facade. Hannah strives to be the one person who can bind the threads of her family together in spite of her father's worries, her mother's depression, and her sister's rebellious ways. But her world threatens to unravel.

When two young men seek her hand in marriage---one offering the home she craves and the other promising the adventure of following God's call west---Hannah must make a choice. Will she stay true to the faith of her family or defy her father and abandon her community?

Jan really takes you on a different road than most Amish novels take you. There is a lot going on, a lot of indecision, grief and love of family. She keeps you interested throughout and just when you think you know what Hannah will do, you quickly change your mind.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

A Rocky Mountain Romance by Misty M Beller - review of the second book in the Wyoming Mountain Tales series

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The Wyoming mountain country seems like the perfect place for Zeche Reid to find himself. When a blizzard sends him scrambling for cover, he stumbles upon a lady and her professor father holed up in a remote cabin. His protective instincts won't let him desert them to continue his travels, especially when the father's haunting memories from the War of Secession put his daughter's safety at risk.

Fighting her own nightmares after the war, Gretta Michelly is trying to settle into this rugged mountain land, but her bad memories are nothing compared to the demons that haunt her father. The haven they've found in these Rocky Mountains seems to be the solace he needs to find peace--until a mysterious sojourner appears on their cabin doorstep. She can't help but be drawn to the wild aura that surrounds the man, but that strength seems to be that very thing that intensifies her father's struggles.

As Zeche is torn between his craving to protect Gretta and the awful realization that he's the one putting her in more danger, he's forced to make a difficult choice. But when a run-in with an elk changes his plans and Gretta is faced with a danger Zeche is powerless to control. Zeche has to find a way to protect her at any cost. Even at the cost of his heart.

A book with adventure, threatening accidents and daily fear. Engaging characters with histories that may interfere with their futures. Yes, another great read from Misty. This is a great series so far and I'm looking forward to the rest, Misty never fails me. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Plain Jeopardy by Alison Stone - Review


Reporter Grace Miller's Amish hometown seems the perfect place to recuperate from surgery--until a tragedy puts her on the trail of her mother's long-unsolved murder. Now someone's set their lethal sights on her, determined to keep the truth behind her mother's death and a fatal car crash involving local teens hidden. After discovering that Grace is in danger, police captain Conner Gates drops everything to protect her...and help solve the cold case his father could not. But as they delve into the past, can they face down the dangerous foe hiding in plain sight, threatening to turn their blossoming love into a deadly trap?

Another great Amish mystery by Alison. Grace can't stop investigating and writing her blog even with the danger it causes her and the police telling her to leave things alone, on both murders. She is tampering with more than one person should!

Loved this book but if you want to pick it up be sure and read "Plain Sanctuary" first. I see a third book dealing with Quail Hollow in May, "Plain Outsider", and I'm guessing there may be a fourth on coming in the future, I could be wrong on that but there is one sister I would like to learn more about.

A Pony Express Romance by Misty M Beller - Review of the first book in the Wyoming Mountain Tales series

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After growing up as an orphan, Josiah English wants nothing more than to have his own ranch and raise Arabian horses. Riding for the Pony Express seems like the ticket to his dream. And when he meets the stationmaster's beautiful sister, it seems he may be within reach of the happy life he craves.

Mara Reid is thrilled to finally meet the man of her dreams, and the fact that they both want to raise horses in the Sweetwater River Valley seems like confirmation straight from God.

But when the Express shuts down and Mara's family home is in peril, the danger looming over Mara's life may not be half as destructive as that threatening her heart.

Oh how I have missed reading Misty's books, why did I punish myself!!! Misty never lets me down, it get pulled in on the first page and stay there to the end. If you like Historical Fiction you will love this one. Now on to number two in the series, "A Rocky Mountain Romance".

Monday, January 29, 2018

The Christmas Bargain by Shanna Hatfield - Review of the first book in the Hardman Holidays series

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One Old West Cinderella discovers
Prince Charming is a . . . Cowboy?

The death of her mother left Philamena Booth grieving and at the mercy of her drunken father. After spending more than a decade held captive on their run-down farm, she's left speechless and dazed when her father strikes a bargain to settle a long overdue debt. In lieu of payment, a handsome cowboy agrees to take her. Mortified yet relieved to leave the farm, Philamena unexpectedly finds herself married to a charismatic, caring man.

Luke Granger might own Hardman's bank and the fanciest house in this Eastern Oregon town, but he'd much rather be outside riding his horses or wrangling his herd of cattle than keeping his account books straight. In a strange, unsettling turn of events, he finds himself accepting a farmer's daughter instead of money to cover a loan. If the man hadn't threatened to sell her to the saloon owner, Luke might have refused. He has no idea what to do with beautiful Filly or their marriage of convenience, but he's about to get far more than he bargained for.

Full of Victorian and western charm, The Christmas Bargain is a sweet holiday romance filled with the spirit of the season.

I haven't read one of Shanna's stories in quite a while and boy did I miss them! She has a way of telling stories to pull on your heartstrings, then immediately your laughing or crying with happiness, and then it repeats the process. If you have not read any of her books you don't know what you're missing!!!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Holding the Fort by Regina Jennings - Review of the first book in the Fort Reno series

With Miss Bell as the Teacher, Everyone's Bound to Learn an Interesting Lesson

Dance hall singer Louisa Bell has always lived one step from destitution. When she loses her job at the Cat-Eye Saloon, she has nowhere else to go but to her brother, a cavalry soldier stationed in Indian Territory. But he's run afoul of his commanding officer. Unsure what she can do to help him and desperate for a job, she doesn't protest when she's mistaken for a governess at the fort. How hard can teaching really be?

Major Daniel Adams has his hands full at Fort Reno, especially raising two adolescent daughters alone. If this new governess doesn't work out, his mother-in-law insists she'll raise the girls herself--far away from the fort. Miss Bell bears little resemblance to Daniel's notion of a governess--they're not supposed to be so blamed pretty--but he finds himself turning a blind eye to her unconventional methods. Louisa has never faced so important a performance. Can she keep her act together long enough to help her brother and to secure the respectable future she's sought for so long?

Love this book, of course I haven't found any of Regina's books that I don't love.

Miss Bell has a strong will and can put on a good act, but is it good enough? Will she be able to convince everyone, mainly Major Adams, she is a governess/teacher? She does a good job of hiding who she is and what she is and who know that knowing how to play a good game of chess could actually change your life around. Oh, and wait until you read about how they actually met!!!

Yep, you better grab a copy of this winning book! I don't know when the next book in the series is coming or the title, but it can't be written and released soon enough for me.

The Seekers by Wanda E Brunstetter - Review of the first book in the Amish Cooking Class series

Unlikely Friendships Are Formed in an Amish Cooking Class

Married for eight years with no children to help fill her days, Heidi Troyer cooks up the idea of teaching classes in the art of Amish cuisine in her Holmes County, Ohio, home. But it is a recipe for drama when five very different men and women answer the advertisement.

Charlene Higgins is engaged, but to the despair of her fiancees family, she can't cook. Kendra Perkins, a teen estranged from her family, is facing an unwanted pregnancy alone. Loretta Donnelly, widowed with two children, would like to simplify her life. Ron Hensley, a Vietnam Vet, parks his RV on the Troyer farm. And Eli Miller, an Amish widower, needs to learn how to cook for himself.

Class members share details of their disappointing lives, work to solve a mystery, and stir some romance into the pot. Suddenly cooking classes at Heidi's house become life lessons...and their souls are healed one meal at a time.

Six heartrending stories to pull on your sympathetic soul, yes I am including Heidi's story. Starting out with cooking in mind soon turns into some subtle counseling for the students, will they only learn how to cook or will it turn some lives around. If you enjoy Amish books you will enjoy this.

The Bakery by Samantha Bayarr - Review of the first book in the Amish Bakery series

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Three dozen gingerbread cookies plus two lonely hearts equals one Christmas miracle!
When Hunter Darcy finds himself the center of attention at the 12 Days of Christmas Festival in his small town, he finds refuge in an Amish bakery, but it's the owner who has him intrigued. The ladies in town see him as THE Mr. Darcy, but Noel isn't as impressed with his rugged good looks.

This was a short, enjoyable story by Samantha. If you want a quick, fun read then this is for you. Thank you for this delightful tale Samantha.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

A Courtship on Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand - Review of the eighth book in The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series

There's nothing Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin's irrepressible eighty-somethings Anna and Felty Helmuth like better than a challenge. And the chance to matchmake their feisty granddaughter is their most delightful task yet ...

Elsie Helmuth's plain-spoken ways got her in trouble once before, so she needs to make a good impression at her new teaching job in Huckleberry Hill. but she's not about to let disabled student Wally Sensenig work below his potential. And she definitely won't put up with his hot-headed older brother sabotaging her efforts, no matter how handsome he is...

Sam is nearly at the end of his rope caring for his ailing, widowed mother, working their farm, and raising his siblings. He'll admit Elsie's ideas are bringing Wally out of his angry shell--but why does she have to be as stubborn as she is pretty? Yet as it turns out, Elsie has taught Sam something about himself as well. And he'll do whatever it takes to make up for his mistakes--and win her heart forever.

If you have not read any of this series yet you really need to get started! Jennifer gives you humor, heartache, faith, and yes, love. I got close to tears several times in this book, but I did hold them at bay. I just absolutely love this series and once I finish a book I dread the wait for the next one in the series, I'm soooo glad the Amish have large families so Anna and Felty have a lot of grandchildren to share the love with.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Pony Express Romance Collection by Barbara Tifft Blakey, Mary Davis, Darlene Franklin, Cynthia Hickey, Maureen Lang, Debby Lee, Donna Schlacter, Connie Stevens and Pegg Thomas - Review


Hearts Are United by Express Mail
Between April 1860 and November 1861, before the transcontinental telegraph lines or railroad could be completed, express mail was guaranteed to get from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, in just ten days via the Pony Express. Regardless of the daily risk of death, daring riders were needed, along with a team of supporters at numerous stations along the way. In nine adventure-filled novellas, you will meet riders, station masters, horse trainers, and more via the Pony Express route, who faced the daily urgency and danger involved in moving the mail cross country.

A Place to Belong by Barbara Tifft Blakey
An Unlikely Hero by Mary davis
The Gambler's Daughter by Darlene Franklin
Her Lonely Heart by Cynthia Hickey
My Dear Adora by Maureen Lang
Ride into My Heart by Debby Lee
Echoes of the Heart by Connie Stevens
Embattled Hearts by Pegg Thomas

Nine romances take root along the Pony Express trail, but can they trive in the midst of daily challenges that jeopardize the company's success?

Every time I read one of these 'collections' books, it reminds me of why I enjoy them so much. Anywhere from four to nine short stories usually, all around the same focus but not connected. I find new authors to watch for and great writers. Of course there are some stories that I like better than others, that is not saying the others are not good, and I am sure other readers may probably like others better than my choices, that is what is so great about these books. Yes, I highly recommend this book!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Harmony Trilogy (The Harmony Series) by Nancy Mehl - Review of Simple Secrets, Simple Deceit and Simple Choices

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Follow the lives of the Mennonites in Harmony, Kansas, and outsider Gracie Temple, who comes to live among them. Gracie has trouble fitting in from the start when she inherits a heavy secret from her estranged uncle. Then just when Harmony starts to feel like home, her graphic design career puts her a suspicious position that threatens the town's way of life. And when life and love are finally falling in place, Gracie's attempts to help a Mennonite teen realize her dreams backfire. Will Gracie ever be in harmony with the town she has grown to love?

What a great series this was, one mystery after another keeps you interested and not wanting to put your reading to the side. Nancy has a way of making you want more with her writing. This is not my first experience with her books and it won't be my last.