The Amish Christmas Sleigh by Kelly Long, Amy Lillard, and Molly Jebber (review by Kristi)

An Amish Christmas Sleigh

Three stories about couples who find happiness and love at Christmas make up the Amish Christmas Sleigh. Not normally my type of book I thought I would give this one a try. I have given the book three stars as a collection but don’t think each story was worth three stars.

A Sleigh Ride on Ice Mountain by Kelly Long is the first story in the book. Never having read anything by this author I was a little shocked at some of the story. I don’t want to include anything that would spoil the book for readers but at times I questioned if I was reading an Amish story. There were things in this story that I haven’t seen in Amish fiction before. I want my Amish fiction to be nice and clean and not have elements that I would find in contemporary, non-Amish fiction. I liked the premise of the story but due to the surprising elements would only give this story 1 1/2 stars. I don’t think I would read anything else by this author.

A Mamm for Christmas by Amy Lillard was by far my favorite story in this book. The characters were easy to relate to and I felt interested in their story. I found myself smiling at the antics of the three small girls. Amy has a writing style that is easy to read. I can get wrapped up in one of her stories, short or full-length novel, and be lost for hours. I would give this story 5 stars.

An Unexpected Christmas Blessing by Molly Jebber was a cute story. I liked the characters and the story was nice. The only downfall of this story is Molly’s writing style. It seems a bit stilted and almost elementary in style. I know this was a short story/novella but it would have been nice to have more depth to the story and the characters. I would have liked to have seen a better flow to the story. This story I would give three stars to.

Fans of Amish fiction will probably enjoy this collection of stories. However, don’t say you weren’t warned about the first one!

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion which I have given.

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Murder Plainly Read: An Amish Quilt Shop Mystery by Isabella Alan ( review by Cathy)

Murder Plainly Read

In the latest from the author of Murder, Served Simply, an Amish man checks out permanently, but quilt shop owner Angie Braddock’s got this mystery covered…

With so much to do between running her shop and spending time with her new boyfriend, it’s amazing Angie is able to help organize the Rolling Brook library’s annual book sale. Luckily she’s working alongside brash librarian Austina Shaker, a lady who isn’t afraid to make waves to get books to her patrons—even the Amish. Unfortunately, this draws the ire of cranky Bartholomew Belier, an Old Order Amish bishop, who publicly vows to ruin Austina.

And she certainly might be ruined after Belier is found dead in her bookmobile. Now Angie must employ the help of her loyal quilting circle—as well as her beloved French bulldog, Oliver—if she hopes to prove Austina’s innocence before the real killer books it…

My review:
When I started reading this book, I only meant to read a few chapters, however I was still reading it a few hours later. This is one of those books that you quickly immerse yourself in.

The characters are well defined and the dialogue is sharp. There are many humorous and sweet moments between Angie Braddock and her Sheriff boyfriend, her parents and her Amish friends. But, the ones between Angie, her French Bulldog Oliver, her cat Dodger and Petunia the goat are laugh out loud funny.

Ms. Allen certainly keeps the reader engaged and guessing throughout.

I loved revisiting the idyllic township of Rolling Brook where the friendships are strong and The Running Stitch Quilt Shop is always abuzz.

Definite 5 star

I received a copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

Josette by Kathleen Bittner Roth (review by Kristi)

Josette

From Goodreads:

At the smoky, velvet sound, Cameron swung around. Every function in his body—heart, breath, blood ceased to function.

She was lovely. More than lovely.

Tendrils of raven hair framed a face so exquisite, it disarmed him. Her mouth, a soft, dewy pink, parted. And those eyes, as dark as Creole coffee, intelligent and assessing, roamed over him and then back to take hold of his. He needed to step closer, to stroke her skin. To possess her. But would his wealth and worldly experience be a match for the free-spirited Cajun-born widow?

Across the oceans, between worlds old and new—two lost souls find themselves at a crossroads.

My review:

I was drawn to this book by the cover. I loved the red dress and the house in the background. The storyline seemed interesting and I had never read anything by this author so I thought I would give the book a try.

Unfortunately, the book turned out not being as good as I thought it would. The characters really held no appeal to me. I thought I would like Cameron, the main male character, at first, but he just didn’t develop as I thought he would. Josette, while being an independent woman, was lacking. I didn’t find her as independent and “take charge” as I thought she would be. Alexia didn’t come across as a troubled youth but someone who was spoiled and a bit bratty. And as for Josette’s two brothers, I just didn’t care for them at all.

This book is a bit lengthy and I think the story could have been told just as well with 50-100 fewer pages. I began to lose interest in the story and kept hoping it would move along at a faster pace or that there were a lot of previews included at the end. I was ready for this story to be over. There were a couple of love scenes between the two main characters of the book that I didn’t find all that well-written either. I felt they could have been left out and the book wouldn’t have lost anything.

All in all this wasn’t a horrible book but wasn’t the greatest book I’ve read either. This was the third book in the series and maybe if I had read the two previous I would feel different. I doubt I go back and read the other two though.

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion which I have given.

The Christmas Cradle by Charlotte Hubbard (review by Cathy)

The Christmas CradleOverview

For the peaceful town of Willow Ridge, November presents an early holiday surprise. Stranded in the snow, 18-year-old Lena Esh and her boyfriend Josiah Witmer need more than a place to stay for the night. Lena defied her strict family and their judgmental beliefs to run away with Josiah and have his baby. But she’s starting to wonder if he can prove as responsible as he is passionate. And she isn’t sure how—or if—they can ever find a place to truly call home.

Expecting their own miracle baby, Miriam and Ben Hooley rally the town to help the young couple, and Lena draws strength from their unexpected support. Though trouble may come calling, in this season of joyous rebirth, a little child will lead them. And two couples will see their dreams of forever family come true.

My review:

This is the final book in the Seasons of the Heart series.

I’ve truly enjoyed this series and find the characters have been very easy to relate to.
I’ve enjoyed visiting the Sweet Seasons Cafe, and old friends.

Ms. Hubbard created very strong and lovable characters in this series and one extremely flawed character!
Yes, I’m referring to former Bishop Hiram Knepp as the flawed character. As usual Hiram is up to his old tricks and simply cannot stay in Higher Grounds and give the residents of Willow Creek a peaceful Holiday season.

We also meet a few newcomers in the book and they blend perfectly with the rest of the community.

The series has an amazing end and left me with the feeling that this community will continue to thrive with their strong faith, love and sense of always extending a helping hand.

I’ll miss “Honey Girl and Bennie-bug”
Thank you Charlotte Hubbard for bringing all of characters to life.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

 

 

Daughter’s of the Heart by Caryl MacAdoo(review by Cathy)

Daughter's of the heart

I have to admit that I haven’t read the first four books in this series.

Having said that, that may have been the reason that I didn’t really connect with any particular character. I liked several of the characters and the love they had for each other was very apparent.

This is a coming of age story and Henry Buckmeyer the patriarch has his hands full as his daughters are growing up and dad is overprotective to say the least. The stepmother is quite understanding of the young girls feelings.

I enjoyed the clean storyline and the dialog flowed quite easily. There were some sweet and tender moments between all of the characters at different points in the story.

I give this 4 stars.

I borrowed this book through Kindle Unlimited.

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Daughters of the Heart by Caryl McAdoo

meme announcements daughters of the heart

About the book:

God’s perfect plan is sometimes so hard to determine.

Gwendolyn, Cecelia, and the youngest, Bonnie, make a pact never to break their father’s heart like their big sister did.  Then their determination is sorely tried when suitors show up, and he gets so pigheaded with his rules.  Will Henry survive his daughters coming of age? Will they endure and keep their promises to each other?

From one man asking to court her–who Daddy sends packing–Gwen goes to three!  How can she ever decide?  Cecelia knows exactly who she wants, but she’s still a year away from Daddy’s acceptable courting age. What if her beau doesn’t know or won’t wait?  And Bonnie hates being the baby and wants to be grown-up more than just about anything…except her man.  She is for sure and for certain in love.

In his life, Henry Buckmeyer has never been so beside himself.  His little girls are so young, just babies, too young.  He hates the whole idea of men coming to take them away and is inclined to shoot every one of them, but praise God for a level-headed, loving wife and step-mother!  She helps keep him sane amidst the female chaos.  Packed with fun, romance, deception, action, heartbreak and tears, this delightful Christian novel keeps the twists and turns coming.

Will the Buckmeyer home ever be settled and peaceful again?  Will any of his daughters find true love…a man he’ll approve and to whom he can give his blessing?

About the Author:

Caryl, praying her story gives God glory, loves writing for Christian genres–historical and contemporary romance, Biblical fiction, and mid-grade especially.  In 2014, Simon and Schuster debuted VOW UNBROKEN, a historical Christian romance set in 1832 Texas, and Caryl followed with three additional novels.  In April, LADY LUCK’S A LOSER (contemporary, mature, inspirational romance) September’s debut, HEARTS STOLEN (set in 1839-1844), book two of her historical Christian Texas Romances–a #1 Amazon Best-seller, and in November, A LITTLE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS, volume one of her new Biblical fiction series, The Generations–also an Amazon #1 Best-seller.

For every good blessing – including ten children (four by birth, six by marriage) and sixteen grandsugars – she gives God the glory.  Caryl lives a country-life with Ron, her high school sweetheart of forty-sevel years and two grandsons, in the woods a few miles south of Clarksville, REd River County seat, located in far Northeast Texas with two grandosns Christian (16) and Benjamen (13).

To purchase the book from Amazon click here.

To enter the Daughters of the Heart giveaway click here.

A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn by Shelley Shephard Gray(review by Cathy)

A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn

This is my favorite book I’ve read this year.
I’ve been a huge fan of the Amish Brides of Pinecraft series and in this third book, I have become an even bigger fan!
Shelley Shephard Gray has created some of the most heartwarming and unforgettable characters that will make you laugh and at times make you cry.
Emma Keim and her three young daughters stole my heart from the very beginning, as did Jay Hilty and his three sons. Then there’s Frankie! Frankie is without a doubt a sneak, a troublemaker and one of my favorite characters in the book. He’s also a Beagle!

It’s always a joy to return to Pinecraft and this time was no exception. I loved how Shelley effortlessly introduced new characters and still kept returning characters very important in the storyline.
I highly recommend this book, you will not be disappointed.