An Amish Heirloom Four Stories by Amy Clipston, Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin (review by Cathy)

About the book:

 

A Legacy of Love by Amy Clipston

Local volunteer fire fighter Leon King agrees to repair his ex-girlfriend Susie Bontrager’s grandparents’ antique rocking chairs for her future home with her fiance and is forced to acknowledge that his feelings for her have not quite gone away. As Susie spends time with Leon, she begins to recognize she is marrying the wrong man for all the wrong reasons.

 

The Cedar Chest by Beth Wiseman

Decades after inheriting her great grandmother’s cedar chest, Emma Fisher decides to pry it open only to discover a beautiful love story in the form of letters between her great grandparents. But as Emma immerses herself in their story, family secrets are revealed, and she must decide whether to share them to preserve family history or honor her great grandparents’ decision to leave them hidden.

The Treasured Book by Kathleen Fuller

For the past two years, Shane Broyles has felt God leading him to join the Amish. He’s staying with his friends Noah and Ivy Schlabach in Birch Creek, OH, where he is reunited with Lucy Fisher, an old friend of Noah’s family. Shane and Lucy have never revealed their feelings for each other, but when they stumble upon an antique Bible at a flea market, they feel drawn to each other and to the mystery of the contents found within.

 

The Midwife’s Dream by Kelly Irvin

Iris Beachy serves as a midwife in her district where she longs for a family of her own. When her friend’s brother Mahon Kurtz seeks her help in delivering the baby of two young teenagers who have sought refuge in their town, they begin to see each other in a different light. Unprepared for parenthood, the young couple leave their baby girl behind in an antique crib quilt resembling the one destined for Iris when she becomes a mother. Mahon and Iris come together to take care of the baby as they try to find her parents, and they begin to see new possibilities for their future.

 

My thoughts:

Another collection of wonderful stories by four of my favorite authors.  I have been a fan of their work for many years and they continue to impress me with their talent with each and every book of theirs that I read.

The Heirloom’s that meant so much to their characters became just as cherished to me as I read each novella and became involved in their lives and communities.

I absolutely loved The Cedar Chest by Beth Wiseman! This is the first dual time line of hers that I’ve read and I can say that my only criticism is that I wish that the story lasted longer than it did.   It is beautifully written and her characters are most endearing.

A Legacy of Love by Amy Clipston is another one in this collection that I loved.  The story of Leon and Susie is compelling and moved a great pace.  Amy never disappoints and she really poured her heart into this one.

The Treasured Book by Kathleen Fuller really is fantastic.  I was so happy to reconnect with one my favorite characters, Cevilla.  She is playing matchmaker once again and this time she’s decided that Shane and Lucy should be together.  I loved this sweet story so much.

The Midwife’s Dream is the last book in this collection and is just as wonderful and well written as anything that I’ve read by this author.  I really enjoyed the story of Mahlon and Iris.

Overall, I think that this is one of the best collections of novellas that I have read. Each of the authors work reminded me once again just how talented they are why I love their work so much.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher and was under no obligation to write a review.  All opinions are my own.

 

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My Heart Belongs in Glenwood Springs, Colorado: Millie’s Resolve by Rebecca Jepson (review by Kristi)

Colorado Springs

About the bookJourney now to healing spa town of Glenwood Springs, Colorado in 1885
Where the past and present collide and a woman is on the precipice of unexpected love.

Millie Cooper, fisherman’s-daughter-turned-nurse, flees a painful entanglement with the wealthy Drexel family who summered near her childhood home in Nantucket, only to encounter them again six years later in Glenwood Springs. The serenity of Millie Cooper’s mountain hideaway in a town with healing springs is disrupted when she faces caring for the elderly mother and the expectant wife of Stephen Drexel, the man she’d once loved—at the request of John Drexel, the man who’d kept them apart. Will

Millie forgive the wrongs she feels were done to her, or will she come to see them as a blessing in disguise that lead her to greater joys?

Publication Date:  May 1, 2018

Publisher:  Barbour Books

Genre:  Christian Historical Fiction

 

My thoughtsI’ve heard authors say that some books write themselves. As a reader, I have said that some books read themselves. That’s the case with this book. I started reading this book with the intention of just reading a chapter or so to “get into” the story and soon found I was halfway through the book in just one sitting! Warm, realistic characters in a story that was both heartwrenching and heart-stopping made this book easy to read.

While some aspects of the story sounded familiar to other romances I’ve read the author totally made this story her own. I loved her writing and the way that the shift in the relationship between Millie and Katherine happened in a way that was so subtle that I can’t pinpoint the exact spot it took place. It’s just so natural and suddenly you realize that things have changed between the two. I also liked the way she kept me wondering exactly what was going to happen. I knew the ending I wanted to the story but she kept me guessing as to whether I was going to get it or not. I loved the complexity of the relationships between the characters. It made the story seem so real. The pace of the story is great and kept me turning pages as quickly as I could.

The author has created some really well-developed characters in this book. Some I liked more than others. Millie, I liked instantly while it took some time to warm up to John and Katherine Drexel. I’m still not sure if I really liked Stephen or not but that’s ok. He’s not a bad character, just not my favorite.

This is a book that will definitely be added to my keeper shelf. I can easily see myself rereading this book because the story is just so good and the writing is excellent. This is Rebecca Jepson’s debut novel so I can’t go looking for more to read from her but I will be adding her to my “must-read author” list. I’m hoping there will soon be more to read from her!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

 

About the authorRebecca Jepson is a homebody who loves a good book, a cup of freshly ground coffee, and all things autumn. She is the author of A Highbrow Hoodwink, a novella included in the ECPA bestseller, The Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection. In addition to writing, she works as a paralegal and volunteers in various ministries at her church. She lives in Reno, Nevada, with her husband, Mike.

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Shadows of Hope by Georgianna Daniels (review by Cathy)

Shadows of Hope

About the book:

What if. . .
. . .you struggled with infertility but unknowingly befriended your husband’s pregnant mistress?

What if. . .
. . .the woman you were seeing behind your wife’s back gets pregnant, threatening your job and marriage?

What if. . .
. . .your boyfriend never told you he was married and you discover you’re pregnant?

Crisis pregnancy worker Marissa Moreau suspects her husband is cheating, but little does she know how close to home her husband’s infidelity hits. College student Kaitlyn Farrows is floundering after a relationship with her professor leaves her pregnant. Soon she lands a job and a support system at the local pregnancy resource center and things seem to be turning around.

But when Marissa and Kaitlyn become friends, neither one knows they share a connection—Colin, Marissa’s husband and Kaitlyn’s former professor. When their private lives collide, the two women must face the ultimate test of their faith and choose how to move forward as they live in the shadows of hope.

 

My thoughts:

This story is told in three different POV which I found interesting and liked quite well.   I was drawn to Marissa from the beginning and became fond of Kaitlyn as her story progressed.  I truly disliked Colin much more than I thought I would.

There were no unexpected surprises and I could tell where the story was going and yet, there was something about the characters that kept me reading this book although much more slowly than I normally read.

The writing is good and I’ll definitely read more of the authors work but I felt the ending of this book wasn’t very smooth.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher and have given my honest opinion.

 

 

My Heart Belongs in Colorado Springs (Millie’s Resolve) by Rebecca Jepson (review by Cathy)

Colorado Springs

About the book:

Journey now to healing spa town of Glenwood Springs, Colorado in 1885
Where the past and present collide and a woman is on the precipice of unexpected love.

Millie Cooper, fisherman’s-daughter-turned-nurse, flees a painful entanglement with the wealthy Drexel family who summered near her childhood home in Nantucket, only to encounter them again six years later in Glenwood Springs. The serenity of Millie Cooper’s mountain hideaway in a town with healing springs is disrupted when she faces caring for the elderly mother and the expectant wife of Stephen Drexel, the man she’d once loved—at the request of John Drexel, the man who’d kept them apart. Will

Millie forgive the wrongs she feels were done to her, or will she come to see them as a blessing in disguise that lead her to greater joys?

 

My thoughts:

I have really loved this series and always find a new to me author.  I had not read anything by Ms. Jepson before and wasn’t sure what to expect.  When I first started reading this book, I have to admit that I didn’t really care for it, but after a few chapters, I enjoyed this book as much as the others I’ve read.

Millie Cooper is a wonderful protagonist and so easy to love.   Stephen Drexel a man she loved in the past and is  in need of someone to care for his sickly mother and his expectant wife.  Of course, Millie gets hired by his brother, John.   She never allowed the past hurts and disappointments to interfere with giving the best care and treatment to either of the ladies she took care of.

There were some characters that I didn’t like at first but they had redeeming qualities and one of them turned out to be a favorite of mine.  I liked that this wasn’t a typical romance and that the author added some pretty tough topics to the storyline. It’s also a story about family ,friendship and forgiveness .

There were times that I felt the pace moved a bit slow, but once it started to pick up, I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it to readers of Historical and Christian fiction.  I am looking forward to reading more of the authors work.

I received a complimentary copy from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.  All opinions are my own.

 

 

 

Steal Away Home by Billy Coffey (review by Kristi)

steal away home

About the bookOwen Cross grew up with two loves: one a game, the other a girl. One of those loves ruined him. Now he’s counting on the other to save him.

Owen Cross’s father is a hard man, proud in his brokenness, who wants nothing more than for Owen to succeed where he failed. With his innate talents and his father’s firm hand guiding him, Owen goes to college with dreams of the major leagues—and an emptiness full of a girl named Micky Dullahan.

Owen loved Micky from the first time they met on the hill between their two worlds: his middle-class home and her troubled Shantytown. Years later he leaves her for the dugouts and the autographs, but their days together follow him. When he finally returns home, he discovers that even peace comes at a cost. And that the hardest things to say are to the ones we love the most.

From bestselling author Billy Coffey comes a haunting story of small-town love, blinding ambition, and the risk of giving it all for one last chance.

Publication Date:  January 2, 2018

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson

Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Christian Fiction

 

My thoughts: I like baseball. It’s the one sport I actually watch from time to time. So when I found out this book was centered around baseball I was thrilled to read it. However, once I started reading the book I realized it was so much more than baseball and not really in a good way. And quite honestly, if this wasn’t the book I chose to take to read while waiting at the doctor’s office I probably would have quit reading after the first 30 pages. But alas, the doctor was running behind and I kept reading until I passed the point of no return.

I found myself alternating between confused and bored while reading this book. The story seemed simple enough to understand but the author took us on flashbacks that weren’t in chronological order. He jumped around between Owen in high school and then college then back to high school. I found myself puzzled at times and wondered why he did this. I think the book would have been so much better had the story been told from beginning to end. I didn’t mind one bit that it was told in flashbacks while Owen waited to play in his first major league game. I was just puzzled at all the jumping around during the flashbacks. Also after having struggled through the book, I would have liked a better ending. I’m still a bit confused about the ending, to be honest.

The characters in the book were just kind of meh for me. I really didn’t find a bond with any of them. Owen was somewhat likable but I just didn’t feel that strong pull to him like I should with the main character. The same with Micky. I liked her well enough at the beginning but I found myself liking her less and less throughout the book. And I’m still puzzled as to what happened to her. While reading I felt like since the author knew what happened to Micky he thought readers should know what happened to her but this one didn’t. If you read (or have read) this book and you know please enlighten me.

There were a couple things I really enjoyed about the book. The chapters aren’t really chapters. They are innings. Pregame, seventh inning stretch and postgame included. While it didn’t really add anything to the story I found it unique and fun. Also, the major league game that Owen is attending was an actual game. It was neat to see names of actual major league players. I also enjoyed all of the baseball factoids added in. The size of the plate, the spacing of the bases. These items made reading the book bearable.

Some readers may enjoy this story but I just didn’t. That’s not saying the author did a bad job it’s just that this book was probably just not for me. I don’t know that I would recommend it because I don’t often suggest books I don’t like. This was my first book by this author and even though I didn’t enjoy it I am willing to give the author another try.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

 

About the authorBilly and his wife, Joanne, live with their two children in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. A product of his small-town locale, Billy counts as assets his rural authenticity, unwavering sense of purpose, and insatiable curiosity–all of which tend to make his front porch a comfortably crowded place.

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Pelican Point (Hope Harbor #4) by Irene Hannon (review by Cathy)

Pelican Point

Book Blurb:

After inheriting a crumbling lighthouse, Dr. Ben Garrison is more than ready to get rid of it until he meets a determined Marci Weber who wants to save the landmark. Can she make him see her point of view?

 

 

My thoughts:

Pelican Point has everything I expected from the author including endearing characters and an engaging storyline.

I love the coastal town of Hope Harbor  in Oregon and truthfully if it  existed, I would have made plans to visit it.  I could easily imagine visiting the lighthouse and stopping by to see Charlie and his Taco stand and I don’t even eat fish or any tacos!  Basically, I’d love to hang out with the locals chat with them.

Ben Garrison was my favorite character, even though he was a bit stubborn about keeping the lighthouse he inherited from his grandfather, Skip. My heart went out to him on his loss and could understand how he felt about keeping it.  Marci Weber was sweet but it honestly took me awhile to warm up to her.  A couple of chapters in, I warmed up to her and genuinely liked her.   The first meeting between Ben and Marci could have gone a bit better, but as a cat lover, I though it was perfect and probably why I felt a connection to Ben.

I think this book is the perfect summer read and one you may want to pack to take on vacation or one you may want to enjoy sitting outside with a cool refreshing beverage.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher and was not required to give a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

 

 

A Borrowed Dream by Amanda Cabot (review by Cathy)

A Borrowed Dream

About the book:

Catherine Whitfield is sure that she will never again be able to trust anyone in the medical profession after the town doctor’s excessive bleeding treatments killed her mother. Despite her loneliness and her broken heart, she carries bravely on as Cimarron Creek’s dutiful schoolteacher, resigned to a life without love or family, a life where dreams rarely come true.

Austin Goddard is a newcomer to Cimarron Creek. Posing as a rancher, he fled to Texas to protect his daughter from a dangerous criminal. He’s managed to keep his past as a surgeon a secret. But when Catherine Whitfield captures his heart, he wonders how long he will be able to keep up the charade.

With a deft hand, Amanda Cabot teases out the strands of love, deception, and redemption in this charming tale of dreams deferred and hopes becoming reality.

 

My thoughts:

A Borrowed Dream is the second book in the Cimmaron Creek Trilogy and I enjoyed this one just as much as the first book in the series.

I love Historical fiction and Ms. Cabot has recently become one of my favorite authors in this genre. Catherine and Austin are characters that appealed to me and it was easy to get caught up in their storyline.  They are both adamant about protecting the ones they care for and go to great lengths to do so.

There is suspense, surprises and a few twists that made this one a pleasure to read.

I received a copy from the publisher and have given my honest  opinion.