The NewsMakers by Lis Wiehl with Sebastian Stuart(review by Cathy)

The NM

From Goodreads:

Television reporter Erica Sparks has just landed her dream job at Global News Network. Beautiful, talented, and ambitious, Erica grew up dirt poor, worked her way through Yale, and is carrying a terrible secret. She moves to Manhattan to join GNN, leaving Jenny, her adored 7-year-old daughter, in the custody of her ex-husband. Erica’s producer at the network, Greg Underwood, is handsome and compelling. Scarred by her divorce, Erica is wary of romance, but there’s no denying the mutual attraction.

On one of her first assignments, Erica witnesses a horrific Staten Island ferry crash. Then she lands a coveted interview with presumptive presidential nominee Kay Barrish. During the interview Barrish collapses. Erica valiantly tries to save her with CPR. The footage rivets the world—GNN’s ratings soar and Erica is now a household name.

But she’s troubled. What a strange coincidence that both events should happen on her watch. It’s almost as if they were engineered. Is that possible?

Erica’s relentless pursuit of the truth puts her life and that of her daughter in danger. Her investigation leads her into the heart of darkness—where the future of our democracy is at stake.

 

My review:

I found the premise of this book interesting. Once I began reading it, I found the story of Erica Sparks and her sudden rise to fame to be a bit contrived.

It’s an entertaining read and is fast paced. Erica is a reporter and oddly enough, whatever story she’s covering becomes the scene of, or nearby scene of something nefarious.

There were situations that seemed more believable such as the jealousy that Claire felt when Erica becomes the rising star of cable news GNN.  It seemed normal that Erica’s daughter, Jenny was a bit standoffish given the circumstances of the divorce.

There are strong friendships and some behind the scenes narrative that I liked.

Overall, this was an enjoyable book.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers for an honest opinion which I have given.

 

 

 

 

Flirtation Walk by Siri Mitchell (review by Kristi)

Flirtation Walk

From Goodreads:  Trying to escape the shambles her con-man father has made of their reputation, Lucinda Curtis arrives in West Point, New York, determined to land a husband from the military academy. Campbell Conklin is first in his class and preparing to embark upon a storied career in the U.S. Army. Lucinda thinks Campbell will make the perfect husband . . . as long as he does not find out about her father.

Seth Westcott also has taken a liking to Lucinda. He’s kind, smart . . . and working extremely hard to graduate last. Tradition states that the worst cadets are assigned to the cavalry out west. And west is where Seth must head to track the swindler who stole all of Seth’s mother’s money. Seth is smart enough to vie for the top spot, but life isn’t fair and this is his chance to catch the man who ruined his family. It’s too bad Campbell is all shine and no substance, but Lucinda will surely see through all of that, won’t she?

My review: When I first saw the cover of this book in an email from Bethany House publishing I knew this was a book I wanted to read. This cover is so pretty. I loved the colors, the way the characters are facing, the placement of author and title, and the font. I loved everything about the cover! Since Siri Mitchell was a new-to-me author I was wondering if I would find the inside as pleasant as the cover. The answer: Yes!!!

This story caught my interest from the first page. Lucinda was a very relatable character and it was nice to see her grow as a person throughout the book. Seth was just as genuine and his story was interesting to read. In addition, I really liked Phoebe. Her character had a vulnerability that made her extremely relatable and authentic.

The POV changes between Lucinda and Seth from chapter to chapter and I found this a nice change as it kept the story fresh and entertaining. I really enjoyed how the author wove their stories together and let the story unfold in such a natural way. The story progresses at a perfect pace and keeps the reader’s interest from beginning to end. The author’s way of writing is wonderful and the descriptions she uses make you feel as if you are there with the characters. Her research of Flirtation Walk appears well done as it really took the story to another level. ( I didn’t know this place existed until I read the story.)

This was a wonderful story that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I am now a fan of Siri Mitchell’s writing and will be checking out her entire catalog of work. Flirtation Walk is a definite must read that I highly recommend.

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

 

Kindle Publication Date: February 23, 2016

Paperback Publication Date:  March 1, 2016

384 pages

About the Author

Siri Mitchell has written over a dozen novels, three of which were named Christy Award finalists. A graduate of the University of Washington with a business degree, she has worked in many levels of government and lived on three continents. She and her
family currently reside in the DC Metro area. Learn more at www.sirimitchell.com.

An Amish Market-Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin and Vanetta Chapaman(review by Cathy)

An Amish Market

 

I can honestly say that this collection of novellas went far beyond my expectations.

Though the stories are short, these talented ladies managed to tell their stories without making them seem rushed and each was a delight to read.

Love Birds by Amy Clipston

While Ellie Lapp and her mother are still mourning the loss of her brother, Seth, Ellie starts working at one of the gift shops in town. Seth’s friend Lloyd is talented at carving wooden birds, but his father disapproves and expects him to take over the family farm someday. Ellie sees the beauty in Lloyd’s creations and insists Lloyd sell the birds in the gift shop where she works. As Ellie and Lloyd spend more time together, they begin to develop feelings for one another, but she accidentally betrays his trust. Will she lose any hope of a future with him?
My thoughts:

Amy has created wonderful characters that stayed in my mind long after I finished reading Love Birds. I’ll say that Ellie and Lloyd are two of my favorite characters out of all of the books that I’ve recently read.  The dialog had a natural flow and didn’t seem contrived in the least.

Their story has all of the elements that made reading this book a joy.  I’ll want to read this one again.

 

A Bid for Love by Kathleen Fuller

Every week, Hannah Lynne brings her home-churned butter to the local market. And every week, Ezra stops by to purchase some. Hannah Lynne knows not to read too much into it — Ezra is a confirmed bachelor and barely even glances her way, despite any hope to the contrary. But when Ezra bids an exorbitant amount to win the quilt she had her heart set on, Hannah Lynne can’t stop her heart from taking over her mind. Could Ezra finally be in the market for love?
My thoughts:

This was an easy read. I liked Hannah and Ezra. There were times when I found Ezra to be a bit comical with turning up at the market where Hannah sells her home churned butter. There was a gentleness that Ezra possessed that I really liked.

 

Sweeter Than Honey by Kelly Irvin

Shattering a jar of pickled beets wasn’t the impression Isabella hoped to make on her first trip to the local Combination Store of Bee County, Texas. But as embarrassed as she was by the accident, she didn’t think it warranted the frosty reaction from the handsome manager of the store, Will Glick. As she soon learns, though, Will’s heart has been broken one too many times. And now, for some reason, Isabella finds herself determined to be the one to repair that broken heart and renew his faith in love.
My thoughts:

I have become a huge fan of Kelly’s writing. I find her characters have so such depth to them and it’s a joy for me to read her books. I loved returning to Bee County. Will Glick and Isabelle Shrock first meet in an unusual way and the story progresses beautifully.  The interaction between all of the characters certainly made this one stand out to me.

I will definitely read this again.

 

Love in Store by Vannetta Chapman

Stella Schrock works at the Old Mill in Nappanee, Indiana, with new employee David Stoltzfus, a recent widower. When strange happenings begin occurring around town, it seems as if someone wants to close the mill. Stella and David have to work together to solve the mystery of what is happening at the Old Amish Mill — and in the process, they might just find that God has more in store for their future than they would ever have dreamed possible.

My thoughts:

This is the last story in the book and was a bit different than the others.  Stella Schrock and David Stoltzfus are as opposite as two people can be.  She’s a bit prickly and he’s an affable person.  There is a bit of mystery and oddly enough Stella and David team up to find out who is responsible for the things that have been happening at the Old Mill.

 

There is something for every reader of Amish fiction to appreciate in this book.

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

 

Amish Sweethearts(Neighbors of Lancaster County,#2)by Leslie Gould(review by Cathy)

Amish Sweethearts

From Goodreads:

They’ve been best friends for years, but as high school ends, Zane Beck can’t help but look at his Amish neighbor, Lila Lehman, with different eyes. Her controlling father sees only one future for Lila, though, and arranges for her to be courted by an upstanding young Amish man. When Zane sees the two together, his plans for the future crumble, and he impulsively enlists in the Army, following in his father’s footsteps.

However, the passing of years and the distance between them isn’t enough to halt their now hidden feelings for each other. If being together used to be difficult, it’s now impossible, especially with the Amish opposed to war. Zane’s service takes a dramatic turn when he’s sent to Afghanistan. Being on the front line and the reality of taking a life has him questioning whether he can continue to serve or not. But all choices have consequences–both his and hers. With Lila preparing to marry another, will these one-time sweethearts ever find the life together that they both still long for?

My review:

I’ve liked the interaction between the Beck (an English family) and Lehman (Amish family) since the first book in this series.

In this book the author focuses on Lila and Zane as they explore the feelings they have for each other.   There are challenges to this as Tim Lehman wants something and someone else for his daughter, Lila!

Lila’s Mennonite grandparents added an element to the story with their charm, that was enjoyable to read.

Actually, I have liked all of the character’s in this series.

From the peaceful Amish community to Afghanistan, Ms. Gould introduces her readers to new characters and keeps you engaged from beginning to end of this book.

I definitely am looking forward to reading the third installment in the series.  I want to find out what happens to the wonderful characters that I’ve come to care about.

If you haven’t read the first book, there’s enough backstory to acquaint yourselves with what’s going on.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest opinion, which I have given.

 

 

 

 

 

More Than Friendship by Amy Lillard (review by Kristi)

More Than Friendship

From GoodreadsLove is worth every challenge.

Woven deeply into the Amish community of Wells Landing, Oklahoma, a women’s quilting circle is a place to share everything from recipes to hopes and dreams, especially when love is in the air…

The youngest member of the quilting circle, Clara Rose Yutzy has her whole life ahead of her. And it’s just beginning, with plans for a wedding to her longtime beau, Thomas Lapp. Everything is falling into place, which is why Clara Rose resolutely ignores her newly warm feelings for her best friend, Obidiah Brennaman. There’s never been a hint of romance between them, and no reason to pay attention to such nonsense now…

Steady, sturdy Obie feels differently. He’s never thought too hard about his future, but the news that Clara Rose is about to be married is strangely unsettling. Convincing Clara Rose to take another look at their friendship may not be easy, but Obie is certain God intends for them to be together. He’ll do whatever he must to make Clara Rose see how much he loves her, and with the Lord’s help, before it’s too late…

My review: I enjoyed this quick read from Amy Lillard. It was fun to go back for a quick visit with the folks of Wells Landing, Oklahoma.

This novella has everything I expect from an Amy Lillard story. Characters I like, a good story, and wonderful descriptions made me feel as if I were part of the story. This story was easy to get interested in and moved at a quick pace; keeping me turning the pages as quickly as possible.

If you’re looking for a good yet quick read then grab your favorite beverage and this book. You’ll be glad you did!

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

An Amish Market by Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin and Vannetta Chapman (review by Kristi)

An Amish Market

From Goodreads: All the color and variety of a quaint Amish shop in a charming collection of novellas by four of your favorite authors. Feel free to come in and browse!
 
Love Birds by Amy Clipston

While Ellie Lapp and her mother are still mourning the loss of her brother, Seth, Ellie starts working at one of the gift shops in town. Seth’s friend Lloyd is talented at carving wooden birds, but his father disapproves and expects him to take over the family farm someday. Ellie sees the beauty in Lloyd’s creations and insists Lloyd sell the birds in the gift shop where she works. As Ellie and Lloyd spend more time together, they begin to develop feelings for one another, but she accidentally betrays his trust. Will she lose any hope of a future with him?
 
A Bid for Love by Kathleen Fuller

Every week, Hannah Lynne brings her home-churned butter to the local market. And every week Ezra stops by to purchase some. Hannah Lynne knows not to read too much into it—Ezra is a confirmed bachelor and barely even glances her way, despite any hope to the contrary. But when Ezra bids an exorbitant amount to win the quilt she had her heart set on, Hannah Lynne can’t stop her heart from taking over her mind. Could Ezra finally be in the market for love?
 

Sweeter Than Honey by Kelly Irvin

Shattering a jar of pickled beets wasn’t the impression Isabella hoped to make on her first trip to the local Combination Store of Bee County, Texas. But as embarrassed as she was by the accident, she didn’t think it warranted the frosty reaction from the handsome manager of the store, Will Glick. As she soon learns, though, Will’s heart has been broken one too many times. And now, for some reason, Isabella finds herself determined to be the one to repair that broken heart and renew his faith in love.

 Love in Store by Vannetta Chapman

Stella Schrock works at the Old Mill in Nappanee, Indiana, with new employee David Stoltzfus, a recent widower. When strange happenings begin occurring around town, it appears as if someone wants to close the mill. Stella and David have to work together to solve the mystery of what is happening at the Old Amish Mill, and in the process they might just find that God has more in store for their future than they would ever have dreamed possible.

My review: Looking for stories to put a smile to your face and a warm feeling in your heart? Look no further than this collection of novellas from some of the leading names in Amish fiction. This collection is one of the best I’ve ever read.

Amy Clipston sets the tone of this collection with the lead-off novella, Love Birds. What a wonderful story this is!!! Amy knows how to capture the reader’s attention and captivate them with a perfectly written story. I immediately fell in love with the two main characters and felt every emotion they did. Amy made me laugh, cry, and forget to breathe during these characters’ journey to love. (Note: it’s been a few days since I read this story and I still can’t get Ellie and Lloyd out of my mind. I hope Amy continues writing about this couple.)

Kathleen Fuller is up next with an equally wonderful story. I love her writing style in her novels and wasn’t disappointed in this novella. Kathleen injects humor into her stories that make her characters feel real and genuine. I loved the way the two main characters in this book were awkward around each other. It made me like them even more.

Kelly Irvin is up next with a story set in Texas. While I haven’t had the chance to read any of Kelly’s novels I enjoy reading the novellas she writes. I enjoyed reading about the folks that make up the Texas Amish community. Her characters are authentic and her descriptions make the reader feel as if they are there and part of the story.

Vannetta Chapman’s novella wraps up the collection. Her story is unique with older Amish falling in love and the story also contains a mystery to be solved. I love the fact this story is set in Indiana. Vannetta’s books are always fun to read and this novella is no different. Vannetta has a down-to-earth writing style that makes her stories easy and fun to read.

As in real markets, this book has a little bit of everything and can be enjoyed by fans of Amish fiction or just fans of love stories in general. Don’t wait to pick up this collection of novellas.

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

Amish Sweethearts by Leslie Gould (review by Kristi)

Amish Sweethearts

From Goodreads: They’ve been best friends for years, but as high school ends, Zane Beck can’t help but look at his Amish neighbor, Lila Lehman, with different eyes. Her controlling father sees only one future for Lila, though, and arranges for her to be courted by an upstanding young Amish man. When Zane sees the two together, his plans for the future crumble, and he impulsively enlists in the Army, following in his father’s footsteps.

However, the passing of years and the distance between them isn’t enough to halt their now hidden feelings for each other. If being together used to be difficult, it’s now impossible, especially with the Amish opposed to war. Zane’s service takes a dramatic turn when he’s sent to Afghanistan. Being on the front line and the reality of taking a life has him questioning whether he can continue to serve or not. But all choices have consequences–both his and hers. With Lila preparing to marry another, will these one-time sweethearts ever find the life together that they both still long for?

My review: This book was a roller coaster of a read. Usually, when reading, I can guess how the story will play out and how. Not with this book, though. Leslie Gould has penned a story of friendship and love that will keep you guessing till the end.

Amish Sweethearts is the second book in the Neighbors of Lancaster County series. Having already read the first book I was familiar with the characters and their story. There is enough backstory in this book to not be repetitive to those who have read the first but to refresh their memory. There is also enough backstory for someone who hasn’t read the first book to not feel lost while reading this one. The story had a good flow to it and kept moving along at a steady pace, making it a quick read.

It was enjoyable to catch up with the characters from the first book and also meet new ones. I liked Lila just as much in this book as I did the first. I also really liked Beth, a new character in this book. With all the conflict between Lila, Zane, and Reuben it was nice to read about Beth who had a nice calming presence about her. I think I have a like/dislike relationship with Zane. I liked him at times but at others just wanted to shake him and tell him enough with his anger issues. He was too brooding for me. I’m hoping to read more about Simon and Casey in the next book. I enjoyed the time spent with these two.

Amish Sweethearts is a book to be enjoyed by fans of Amish fiction or those just looking for a good read. Leslie Gould has crafted a solid, well-written book that deals with many issues facing both Amish and non-Amish. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series!

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